Not many of us have experienced living under occupation by a foreign power.
Which friends and neighbours are under threat and which ones are potential collaborators?
However, this last 7 months has given us an insight into restrictions on our liberty and the threat of an invisible enemy.
Traditional “war” films have the barrier of the period drama, as costumes, sets and props constantly remind us this is a created world, but TRANSIT has none of that.
Set in modern day France, TRANSIT describes the constant threat of living under the Nazi regime.
Those trying to escape are refugees who look like us, they exist in an illegal world at the mercy of everyone they encounter and have no resources to earn a living.
Our main character is given the chance to make some money by delivering 2 letters and helping an injured man reach his wife.
Along the way he has brief opportunities of friendship and camaraderie as well as displaying the self preservation and ruthlessness necessary to survive.
As Nazis draw closer everyone waits in Marseilles for the ship that will take them away, but who will get out and at what cost?
There are three fascinating things to remember about TRANSIT:
1. The original novel was written in WW2 but the action is transposed to modern day France.
2. Mass communications devices absent from 1939 – 1945, such as television, computers and mobile phones do not feature. It is a world of letters and documents.
3. The film is described to us by a narrator, who did not witness most of the events; instead relying on the memory and honesty of main character…
Transit lives up to its title with a challenging drama that captures characters – and puts the audience – in a state of flux and exerts an unsettling pull.
Christian Petzold’s stripped back melodrama takes not the slightest effort to recreate its World War II setting, yet it’s all the more politically potent for that fact.
Transit is a thrilling and unsettling film that tangibly recreates a nightmare of displacement and uncertainty,
The narrator names the feeling they all share at that moment: shame. And we feel it, too. Shame that we still live in a world where a piece of paper can be the difference between life and liberty – or death.