In the Fade
3rd German Film Week
"Diane Kruger leaves a vivid, haunting impression." – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Katja's life in Hamburg is completely derailed when her husband Nuri and their son Rocco are killed in a terrorist bombing. She hits rock bottom, starts taking drugs and contemplates suicide. Eventually, the police identify and arrest the perpetrators: André und Edda, a neo-Nazi couple. It was André's own father, who led the police on the right track. Yet Katja's hope that the murderers receive their sentence in court is shattered. Following a harrowing trial, in which Nuri's best friend Danilo serves as Katja's lawyer, Edda und André are acquitted for want of evidence. Katja is devastated, but soon her desperation gives way to an urge for vigilante justice.
film reviewTen minutes into In the Fade, when Katja (Diane Kruger) arrives at the scene of explosion and is informed that a man and a kid have been killed, affirming her biggest fear of losing her husband and son, it is clear that the film would be banking a lot on Kruger and her performance. The camera lingers on her as she breaks down, lands on the ground, and lets out a most terrifying scream. From start to end she takes the wheel and does not disappoint: She portrays the grieving mother with such depth and striking nuance, the spectrum of her emotions controlled and leveraged to maximum emotional effect, carrying the film through despite its tendency to make large, unsteady steps to put forward angry politics. Divided into three chapters, In the Fade underscores Katja’s ordeal as she comes into terms with the loss of her family, is subjected to the harrowing court trial whose verdict magnifies her tragedy, and tries to find a solution to her crisis, a closure that must not be seen only for its dramatic impact but also for the fatalistic view it espouses.
Director Fatih Akin and co-writer Hark Bohm lift many elements of In the Fade from the 2004 bombing in Cologne in which neo-Nazis used a nail bomb to cause an explosion in a busy Turkish neighbourhood. Keen on exploring the intersections of racism, xenophobia, terrorism, and violence in the context of immigrant life, Akin, a German filmmaker of Turkish descent, is known for his heavy-handed handling of material that more often than not yields positive results (Head-On and The Edge of Heaven, for example). In the Fade continues this badge of radical cinema, setting forth a clear political statement that expresses its rage and disappointment in the current state of affairs. The final part of the film is different in tone from the previous two chapters — calmer on the surface, firmer in its direction, more thrilling as the genre dictates — and is obviously intended to provoke, as Katja is driven to find justice not only for her loved ones but also for herself. Akin does not say nihilism is the only answer, but to some people it appears to be an inevitable path.
- 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.
German title: Aus dem Nichts
Director: Fatih Akin
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Duration: 106 mins
Awards and Nominations
IFF Cannes 2017, Best Actress
Golden Globe Awards 2018, Best Foreign Language Movie
SM Aura Premier:
Nov 10 - 9:30pm
SM City North EDSA:
Nov 9 - 9:30pm