Thursday 30 August 2018

In The Fade ★★★★☆

Far-right terrorism is still a threat in Europe and some may say it’s growing, making now a good time to release a film on the subject. ‘In The Fade’, directed by Fatih Akin and winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film 2018 explores this threat, but on a personal level.

Katja Sekerci (Diane Kruger) lives in Hamburg, Germany, with her Kurdish husband Nuri (Numan Acar), and their six year old son Rocco. Nuri spent time in prison for drug dealing before, but since coming out their lives have improved. Katja drops Rocco off at Nuri’s workplace one morning to spend time with her pregnant friend Birgit (Samia Muriel Chancrin), but sadly this is the last time she’ll ever see the two of them - when she comes back, the street has been cordoned off and she finds out that an explosion took place, killing both of them. Insistent that Neo-Nazis are to blame, the rest of the film explores Katja’s various stages of grief and anger and the events that follow as she attends court and desperately tries to seek justice for her family.

‘In The Fade’ is split into three distinct acts - the initial events surrounding the explosion, the court case, and the aftermath. Although I didn’t feel it needed each act to be physically labelled the structure worked well, with the just the right amount of content in each one. Despite being the least active I found the court case scenes to be the most intriguing, and it was hard not to become invested as we got deeper into it. The characters were really interesting and looking at them through such a setting was a great way of exploring their emotions, both positive and negative.

From the very beginning, the film is excellent at bringing emotion out of the viewer, despite initially not presenting us with a large amount of character exploration. I would have liked more, but I still found it incredibly sad at points. Obviously, the story was bound to be sad, but the way it was filmed was also a big part of this, with moving and poignant shots really standing out. One such shot, the reflection of raindrops hitting the window on Katja’s face as she lies alone in the dark, sums up the emotion and thought behind the cinematography. Add to that the haunting soundtrack that accompanies each scene, and you’ve got a really emotive combination. 

Some might feel that the film didn’t explore the grit of Neo-Nazism enough, particularly the impact that it has not only to individuals but society as a whole. However, what it does explore it gets spot on - the torment and grief that can be caused to an individual, and the anger and resentment that arises from a lack of justice, and also a lack of understanding. Every scene is shot intimately and focused around Katja’s life, so maybe it’s not trying to look too much into the bigger picture, but instead focus on those tiny details that we so often forget about as we become hardened to the specifics of these events as the rate that they happen increases.

‘In The Fade’ is a film where not an awful lot really happens once the triggering event has occurred, but from then on every small instance is important. It's slow-moving but beautifully created, and well worth a watch for anyone either interested in the subject or who wants a film that will provide more than just entertainment.

Hannah Read

In The Fade at CeX

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