Notes on June's Film of the Month!

Posted 21 June 2017 about Berlin Syndrome.

Berlin Syndrome

Every month we select a film from our varied programme to hold the coveted title of 'Film of the Month', and MyShowroom members benefit from double points when they see it. Sometimes there are films we want to shout about, or that we think our members might enjoy, but might not know about, so we set up 'Film of the Month' to highlight these cinema gems! Each month we'll be posting programme notes to let you know more about the film, and some examples of similar films to watch if you see it and like it! You can find hard copies of our monthly programme notes on box office if you'd like to take them home!

This month our film of the month is arthouse thriller Berlin Syndrome:

Cautiously adventurous, Australian backpacker Clare (Teresa Palmer – Warm Bodies, Hacksaw Ridge) is travelling across Europe alone, passing through Berlin. It’s a rite-of-passage for lots of young people, and a steamy travel-romance is often part of the experience. Clare is a photographer; particularly drawn to the old GDR buildings she wanders through the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district of the city. Later she meets a teacher, Andi (Max Riemelt – Free Fall, Sense8) and there is a spark. But this is no ordinary love story. After a spot of beautiful cityscape exploring, things start to take a sinister turn and the fling quickly loses its lightness when Andi’s passions manifest themselves into an ominous obsession.
 Berlin Syndrome has a premise that may sound all-too familiar (particularly thanks to Hollywood’s relentless ability to keep rolling out new offerings of the Taken franchise) but it has a surprising, undeniably independent spirit that is lifted by outstanding, committed performances from both its stars.

It’s title – a nod toward ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ - the feelings of trust and affection that captive victims can feel toward their captors - hints toward the film’s complex emotional themes and its intricate exploration of a relationship marred by obsession, manipulation and abuse. What makes Berlin Syndrome stand out in many ways, is its fearless approach to more uncomfortable subjects: it carefully explores the blurred lines of fear, paranoia, dependency and lust.

Berlin Syndrome is based on a novel of the same name, written by Melanie Joosten, and is the first thriller from director Cate Shortland. Her previous features Lore (2012), and Somersault (2004) were vastly different films (though all three feature a young woman at the helm, going through what will ultimately be a transformative period in her life). In this third feature, Shortland showcases her outstanding ability to create nerve-wracking tension without abandoning the raw emotion that such a plot deserves: it is as psychological as it is thrilling, and therein lies its excellence.

Shortland finds a bracing humanity in depicting the perverse situation of Stockholm syndrome.” – The Film Stage

More Like This!

  • Lore (2012) – Cate Shortland

  • The Babadook (2014) - Jennifer Kent

  • Room (2015) – Lenny Abrahamson

  • Victoria (2015) – Sebastian Schipper

  • 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) – Dan Trachtenberg

  • Misery (1990) - Rob Reiner

Cast & Crew

  • Director: Cate Shortland
  • Writer: Shaun Grant
  • Stars: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt

Mikaela Smith

Film Exhibition, Distribution and Sales TraineeRead more posts by Mikaela Smith


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