Stopped on Track

Halt auf freier Strecke

“This is a film that will likely return to haunt and perhaps even to succour its audiences.” — Sukhdev Sandhu, The Telegraph

Director: Andreas Dresen
Year: 2011
Country: Germany
Running time: 110 mins
Censor Rating: PG - sexual references
Genres: Drama

Producer: Peter Rommel
Screenplay: Andreas Dresen, Cooky Ziesche
Photography: Michael Hammon
Editor: Jörg Hauschild
Production designer: Susanne Hopf
Costume designer: Sabine Greunig
In German with English subtitles

With: Steffi Kühnert (Simone), Milan Peschel (Frank), Talisa Lilli Lemke (Lilli), Mika Nilson Seidel (Mika), Ursula Werner (Simone’s mother), Marie Rosa Tietjen (Simone’s sister), Otto Mellies (Frank’s father), Christine Schorn (Frank’s mother), Bernhard Schütz (Stefan)

Festivals: Cannes (Un Certain Regard), Vancouver, London 2011

Un Certain Regard Award, Cannes Film Festival 2011

Andreas Dresen’s flawlessly naturalistic drama bears honest witness to the toughest of situations: the shifting mass of pain, anger, resignation, lightness and love with which a man and his family negotiate his decline and death from an inoperable brain tumour. In coping with the unthinkable, this family, like so many before and since, often falters but also discovers reserves of unconditional love they never knew they possessed. Dresen involved healthcare and social-work professionals in tracing the progress of degeneration and in improvising the interactions in his film. Their contributions, including their admissions of ignorance and powerlessness, inform his quietly upbeat picture of a society functioning on compassion to comfort the dying and console the grieving. There’s no inspirational agenda at work here, yet this film’s recognition of bitter ordinary experience honours suffering with such clear-eyed humanity that it feels like a blessing conferred. — BG


NZIFF STAFF PICK: Bill Gosden, Robyn Harper