Screened as part of NZIFF 2023

Afire 2023

Roter Himmel

Directed by Christian Petzold Masters

Christian Petzold braids desire, artistic insecurity and the looming threat of climate change in his smouldering comedy of manners set over the course of a hot summer holiday on a Baltic coastline beset with forest fires.

Jul 20

The Civic

Jul 22

The Bridgeway Cinema

Jul 28

Rialto Cinemas Newmarket

Aug 01

The Civic

Germany In German with English subtitles
102 minutes Colour / DCP

Director, Screenplay

Producers

Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber, Anton Kaiser

Cinematography

Hans Fromm

Editor

Bettina Böhler

Production Designer

Kade Gruber

Costume Designer

Katharina Ost

Cast

Thomas Schubert, Paula Beer, Enno Trebs, Langston Uibel, Matthias Brandt

Festivals

Berlin, Sydney, Tribeca 2023

Awards

Grand Jury Prize, Berlin International Film Festival 2023

Elsewhere

Two friends, insecure novelist Leon (Thomas Schubert) and photographer Felix (Langston Uibel), head to a holiday home in the woods near the Baltic Sea to work on their projects. When they arrive, however, they find the home already occupied by seasonal worker Nadja (Paula Beer) and her lifeguard lover Devid (Enno Trebs), who are anxious about the nearby forest fires. The four share the cottage, much to the chagrin of petulant Leon, who, while immediately attracted to Nadja, bitterly dismisses her and goes about denying himself summer’s pleasures—romance, swimming, even friendship—in a futile attempt to gain traction on his latest manuscript. As the fires grow closer, lust and resentment set in and heat rises between the housemates.

Awarded the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, Afire is the second film in a planned trilogy of features centering the elements of water, fire and earth. Directed by German filmmaker Christian Petzold (Barbara, Transit, Undine), the film wears its influences on its sleeve—Eric Rohmer, Agnès Varda and Chekhov among them—yet is at once signature Petzold in all its modernist melodramatic romance, making for a darkly comic and equally tragic ensemble piece in the age of climate anxiety. — Amanda Jane Robinson

“Schubert is terrific as Leon, a potentially abrasive character that he makes soft and weak and vulnerable, even pathetic at times, but never contemptible… This is a deceptively simple and straightforward but emotionally layered film, nicely acted by the tight ensemble.” — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter