Sunday, January 28, 2018

In the Fade; “Revanche” in Hamburg

By José Alberto Hermosillo

“In the Fade” is an intense, game-changing thriller that will make you see humanity from a new perspective. 

This year’s winner of the Golden Globe and the Critics’ Choice Awards is a brilliant German feature directed by Fatih Akin (“Goodbye Berlin,” “The Edge of Heaven,” and “Head-On”).

Fatih Akin, director of “In the Fade,” photo Jose Alberto Hermosillo. 2018, COPYRIGHT FestivalinLA 

The story begins with a fun, loving, interracial German-Turkish couple in Hamburg. A tragic event perpetrated by a White Supremacist is about to change their lives.

After a terrorist attack outside the couple’s office, Katja (Diane Kruger) is beyond consolable. She loses herself to a deep depression where suicidal thoughts seem her only peace. 

The arrest of the two suspects in the case of the murder of her son and husband will confront her with them in court, only to further hate.

When justice eludes the victim, vengeance is an obsession, becoming a drug of choice. Not thinking clearly and out of options, she firmly believes retribution is now in her hands to execute.

Winner of the 2017 Best Actress award at Cannes, Diane Kruger’s performance is a terrific and emotionally intense character, creating tremendous energy and an electric connection with the audience.

“In the Fade” has a very well-researched script, displaying through its eloquent jargon a vivid German courtroom battle with their proper cultural actions unfolding every character's personal situation.

Turkish-German Director Fatih Akin made a personal film adding his vision of racial struggle in his new country. Without being unapologetic, he presents the raw and sad sentiment of racial intolerance that darkens the world in his film.

Fatih Akin, the director, was sure to never show swastikas and other fascist symbols. He cleverly removed all the free propaganda that only benefits those extreme-right radical groups by saying, “We are aware of them, and we are not afraid.” For instance,  the word “Neo-Nazi” was meticulously mentioned only in two crucial moments of the story, noting more. 

American films rarely touch this controversial subject as sordid and vividly as Europeans do. The different realities influenced the way they tell their stories differently. 

It is worth mentioning two significant American landmarks, “American History X” (1998) and the documentary “Oklahoma City” (2017). 

The European and Middle-East productions are much bolder. Those films are essentially more authentic about domestic terrorism, such as the French show “Made in France,” “Les Cowboys,” and “Carlos.”

Oscar nominees “Paradise Now” and “Omar” from Palestine are transcendental regarding what we can learn from their history of violence. “The Attack” from Lebanon is another powerful film about endless war. 

Israel also has many terrific films on terrorism, such as “Bethlehem” and “Adjami.” Morroco produced “Horses of God” and “Death for Sale.” Those portray of their restless youth are shown on the screen as no other country could do. 

“In the Fade” is told chronologically, and its structure is in two acts - a courtroom drama and an intense psychological thriller. Its assembly must be more creative to make its linear system less predictable. 

More daring editing is needed with a back-and-forth narrative that could add a more thought-provoking concept, similar to the composition and complexity of films like “Pulp Fiction,” “Babel” or “Irreversible.”

“In the Fade” is a well-recommended flick; it has won many awards worldwide but failed to get an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2018. It must be why the Academy members skipped this winning German import.

“In the Fade” is a challenging project that works well as catharsis about the pulsing of a modern World immersed in a Social Crisis.

Film Critic Jose Alberto Hermosillo

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