German television takes a leaf out of Channel 4’s book with this ‘Red Riding’-style three-parter, as three directors with distinctive styles tell interlinking stories all set in the same fictional Bavarian mountain town. While each of the individual 90-minute films is unmistakeably flawed, taken together they add up to an impressive overview of German small-town life in the early twentieth century, exploring ideas of class, culture, legality and love. Christian Petzold’s opening instalment ‘Beats Being Dead’ is the least straightforward of the three, a fantastical, at times slightly directionless love story between a medical student and a Bosnian chamber maid which gradually builds into an impressively controlled and unsettling study of how social stratification destroys those on the lowest rungs. Dominik Graf’s ‘Don’t Follow Me Around’, meanwhile, is a terse police procedural fused with an intimate bourgeois psychodrama, as a forensic psychiatrist travels to the town to track down an escaped mental patient and is forced to confront the ghosts of her romantic past. Finally, Christopher Hochhaüsler’s ‘One Minute of Darkness’ is a deceptively straightforward chase thriller following the aforementioned escapee as he attempts to evade capture in the ancient, haunted woods surrounding the town, all the while wrestling with his own inner demons.
Cast and crew