Berlin Syndrome 2017

Directed by Cate Shortland Thrill

A photographer on her OE meets a handsome yet mysterious local boy, stays the night and then finds he won’t let her leave, in this taut thriller from Australian director Cate Shortland (Lore).

Jul 22

ASB Waterfront Theatre

Jul 25

ASB Waterfront Theatre

Australia In English and German with English subtitles
117 minutes CinemaScope / DCP
R16
violence, sexual violence, offensive language & sex scenes

Director

Producer

Polly Staniford

Screenplay

Shaun Grant. Based on the novel by Melanie Joosten

Photography

Germain McMicking

Editor

Jack Hutchings

Music

Bryony Marks

With

Teresa Palmer (Clare Havel)
,
Max Riemelt (Andi Werner)
,
Matthias Habich (Erich Werner)
,
Emma Bading (Franka Hummels)
,
Elmira Bahrami (Jana)
,
Christoph Franken (Peter)

Festivals

Sundance
,
Berlin 2017

Australian actress Teresa Palmer, on the cusp of bigtime breakout and here channelling Kristen Stewart, plays introverted Clare, a tourist seeking the experience of a lifetime having arrived in Berlin with just her backpack and camera. When she meets Andi (Max Riemelt), she’s prepared to shake off her loneliness and talk to a friendly stranger.  

He guides her around the city, indulging her fascination for photographing GDR architecture, before dropping her back to her accommodation for the night. The mutual attraction is palpable but Andi holds back. Clare takes the bait the next day, seeking him out at the local bookstore where their paths may have earlier crossed.

The sexual tension culminates back at Andi’s apartment, hidden within an abandoned apartment complex. The passion is tinged with the sinister as he whispers “no one will hear you” while things are really heating up. In the harsh light of the morning, it appears that Andi’s mistakenly locked her in, while he heads out to teach.

What follows is a taut thriller, adapted from Melanie Joosten’s 2011 novel, traversing themes of confinement, control and submission. Director Cate Shortland (Lore) places the story within Berlin although the city itself disappears from view, replaced within ever-increasingly claustrophobic interiors. We’re right there with Clare as she discovers the smallest of clues that magnify the seriousness of her situation. With her SIM card now missing, doors bolted and the windows sealed, how will she escape the binds of her captivity? — RM

“As in her previous films, Shortland conveys the sense of touch with quivering exactitude, as Germain McMicking’s camera lingers deliciously over entwined expanses of skin. The film’s steamiest, most ravishingly lit love scene comes, however, with a brutal hangover.” — Guy Lodge, Variety