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303
3rd German Film Week

303
© Alamode Film
303

"Contradictions and coincidences are leant on rather heavily in the screenplay" – Nikki Baughan, screendaily.com 

"You know, the thought that everything is ephemeral is comforting, even though it's sad. I think that's one of the most important lessons in a relationship. You're part of me, but you don't belong to me." Jan believes that people are selfish by nature, so he's not surprised when the person who was supposed to give him a lift leaves him stranded in Berlin. Jule, however, thinks that people are fundamentally kind and sociable, and she offers Jan a lift in her camper van. They are both heading towards the Atlantic: Jan to Spain, and Jule to her boyfriend in Portugal. They only plan to travel as far as Cologne together, but with every passing mile, they discover more about each other's lives. Does capitalism turn people into Neanderthals? Does monogamy lead to unhappiness, and can you choose who you fall in love with? A road trip across Western Europe, romantic and hungry for life, about two people torn between wanderlust and the longing to finally arrive.

Source: German Films Service & Marketing GmbH
 

FILM REVIEW

There is something too convenient in the premise of 303 — too easy and too opportune — that may put the viewer off in the beginning, but it is in this conceit and the effective execution of it, buoyed by the chemistry of its two leads, that the film manages to exude its irresistible charm. Two students in their mid-twenties, Jan (Anton Spieker) and Jule (Male Emde), brought together by circumstances, embark on a road trip to confront their fates: Jan to see his biological father in Spain whom he has long wanted to meet and talk to, and Jule to visit his boyfriend in Portugal and inform him about her pregnancy, which is taking an emotional toll on her. Although their meet cute has not gone smoothly, Jan and Jule eventually find their way with one another again, in her spacious camper van, initially planning to part ways in Cologne. However, as they begin taking comfort in each other’s company — discussing capitalism and communism, the Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals, monogamy and polygamy, love and lust, life and death, almost everything that fancies them, like Jesse and Celine in Richard Linklater’s films — they spend more time together and drive around Europe to reach their respective destinations, swimming, surfing, sharing food, endlessly talking, and, as expected, falling in love.
 
It is not an exaggeration to claim that much of the film’s charisma comes from the excellent casting of Emde and Spieker as Jule and Jan, who not just deliver lovely performances individually but also make for an endearing couple doing their best to resist the attraction growing between them, lighting up the screen with their persuasive body language and conversations that never go dull or tedious. They carry the film through, and seeing their relationship grow from strangers to friends to lovers is delightful. The audience gets to know them as they get to know each other, as they reveal their strengths and vulnerabilities. There is a lightness to Hans Weingartner’s direction that sometimes tends towards indulgence, but it never feels insincere. Aided by good choices of music and the unmistakably beautiful sceneries of the European countryside, 303 makes for a wonderful movie date, but seeing it alone will also leave the viewer with a smile on her face.

- Richard Bolisay

Richard Bolisay Richard Bolisay is a writer and film critic based in Manila. His essays on cinema have appeared in various publications online and in print. He is a participant of the Berlinale Talent Press and Locarno Critics Academy, and has been part of the jury of, among others, the Hong Kong International Film Festival. 
Follow him on Twitter @richardbolisay

Film details

Germany, 2018
Director: Hans Weingartner
Genre: Lovefilm, Roadmovie, Drama
English subtitles
Duration: 145 mins
Rating: R13

Awards and Nominations

Berlinale 2018, Generation 14plus – Best Film Nominee

Screening schedules

SM Aura Premier: 
Nov 11 - 9:30pm

SM City North EDSA: 
Nov 8 - 9:30pm

St. Louis University - Baguio
Nov 20 - 5:00pm

University of San Carlos - Cebu City
TBA

Liceo de Cagayan University - Cagayan de Oro
Dec 6 - 2:30pm
 

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