First trailer for Cate Shortland’s thriller ‘Berlin Syndrome’ starring Teresa and Max Max Riemelt.
Clare (Teresa Palmer), a young journalist backpacking around Germany, has a one-night stand with a handsome stranger (Max Riemelt). The next morning however she finds that he has locked her in his apartment with no intention of ever letting her go.
THE FILM STAGE – While the recent 10 Cloverfield Lane and Room told stories of captivity with various hooks — science-fiction and the process of healing, respectively — Cate Shortland’s approach in her latest, harrowing drama Berlin Syndrome makes room for more nuance and depth. Locked in a Berlin apartment, there is little hope for our protagonist for nearly the entire runtime. And while some of the story’s turns can feel overtly manipulative, Shortland finds a bracing humanity in depicting the perverse situation of Stockholm syndrome.
Attempting to figure out what she wants from life, Clare (Teresa Palmer) leaves her Brisbane home to head to Berlin where she spends her first days as a tourist photographing the architecture and meeting locals. One day at a crosswalk, she meets the initially charming, reserved Andi (Max Riemelt). After a few encounters, they go on a date and return to his secluded apartment where they make love, a scene in which Shortland’s eye for sensuality makes the revelation of the trauma to come all the more distressing. When Andi goes to his work as an English teacher the next day, Clare finds herself locked in the apartment by a deadbolt, her SIM card missing, and surrounded by reinforced windows with no hope of breaking open.
After Andi makes an excuse the first day that he forgot to leave the keys, on the second day of captivity, Clare initially attempts to reason with him. Andi’s chilling obliviousness to the clear pain he’s inflicting makes for one of the menacing villains in some time. As he offers questions about which ingredients Clare prefers in their dinner or how she’d rate their relationship on a scale from 1-10, there’s unsettling impact tied to his mannerly demeanor. An attempt at a backstory tied to his father and his estranged mother is less effective than when we simply the threat in his actions with Clare.
Palmer, with her sullen eyes, gives a miraculous performance, weaving between a layered emotional spectrum of outright physical hostility to veiled acceptance in hopes for an escape. Often unable to articulate the horrors of the situation, her subtle glances and gestures speak volumes to her determination for freedom by any means necessary. It’s no easy task for an actor to give range when inflicted by dominating hideousness for nearly two hours, but Palmer is thoroughly mesmerizing in conveying both her emotional and physical pain.
Adapted from Melanie Joosten’s novel by Shaun Grant (also behind the equally grim drama The Snowtown Murders), the reaction to the drama will correlate with how much stamina one has for witnessing pure evil. With a dynamic this unbearable to witness, Shortland imbues a complex psychology to the script through her tactile style. Shot by Germain McMicking, there’s a textured feel for both the location and the characters, often using close-ups and inserts to leave a full-bodied impression of the circumstances.
With mentions of past division in Germany surrounding the Berlin Wall, as well as other historical and literary metaphors peppered throughout, Shortland smartly never makes an overt political analogy. In this tale of female imprisonment, everything can be gleaned from the central relationship: a domineering male figure believes he has the final authority on a female’s mind and body. Berlin Syndrome was conceived within the haunting specters of the past, and it proves history will always repeat itself.
Berlin Syndrome premiered at Sundance Film Festival and will be released by Vertical Entertainment and Netflix.
INDIEWIRE – Netflix and Vertical Entertainment have acquired the psychological thriller “Berlin Syndrome,” with Vertical handling the North American theatrical release and Netflix getting the streaming rights, Deadline reports. The film was purchased for an amount in the low to mid seven figures and will screen in Sundance’s World Dramatic Competition on Friday, January 20th.
Directed by Cate Shortland (“Lore”), the film stars Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt. Palmer plays an Australian photographer who has a romantic encounter with a man in Berlin (Riemelt) and soon finds herself locked in his apartment.
The acquisition a week before Sundance begins is just the latest example of distributors buying up movies before festival bidding wars even have a chance to start. Last weekend, A24 purchased a film sight unseen: David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story,” starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. A handful of other deals have also closed ahead of the fest.
“Berlin Syndrom” was produced by Aquarius Films, Entertainment One, Memento Films International, Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Fulcrum Media Finance, and DDP Studios.
Vertical is planning an early summer 2017 theatrical release. UTA Independent Film Group handled the sale.
THE PLAYLIST – It’s a good time of year to be a movie lover, not only because the best Hollywood has to offer is hitting cinemas, but because January will bring with a whole new batch of films to obsess over. The conversation on what’s next will begin at the Sundance Film Festival, and one movie we have our eye on is “Berlin Syndrome.”
The latest from Cate Shortland (“Lore,” “Somersault“), is based on the book by Melanie Joosten, stars Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt, and follows a young woman whose German vacation takes a dark turn. Here’s the synopsis:
A passionate holiday romance takes an unexpected and sinister turn when an Australian photographer wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave.
These two clips promise an eerie offering from Shortland, and we can’t wait to see the whole thing.
THE PLAYLIST – Aussie filmmaker Cate Shortland, who has been behind the camera for “Somersault” and “Lore,” is a director we keep a keen eye on. However, we expected her latest film, “Berlin Syndrome,” to have popped up on the festival circuit by now. Shot all the way back in the spring of 2015, not much has been heard about the picture since that time, but we’re very excited that it will be making its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month.
Based on the book by Melanie Joosten, and starring Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt, the dramatic thriller details a passionate holiday romance that takes an unexpected and sinister turn when an Australian photographer wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave. And given Shortland’s evocative style, we have high hopes for this one.
The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19-29, 2017.
Film Productions > Berlin Syndrome (2017) > Stills
THE PLAYLIST – First announced quietly last summer, it looks like things are starting to push ahead for Cate Shortland’s next feature, “Berlin Syndrome.” If you’re not familiar with the filmmaker’s work, be sure to check out “Somersault,” which features a breakout performance by Abbie Cornish, and a really good turn by Sam Worthington, and her moody WWII picture “Lore.” The director’s latest marks another shifting of gears.
Based on the novel by Melanie Joosten, Teresa Palmer will star in the psychological thriller about a new relationship that suddenly shows some darker edges. Here’s the official synopsis:
While holidaying in Berlin, Australian photojournalist Clare meets Andi, a charismatic local man and there is an instant attraction between them. A night of passion ensues.
But what initially appears to be the start of a romance suddenly takes an unexpected and sinister turn when Clare wakes the following morning to discover Andi has left for work and locked her in his apartment. An easy mistake to make, of course, except Andi has no intention of letting her go again. Ever.
Shaun Grant, who co-wrote Justin Kurzel’s “The Snowtown Murders,” penned the script for “Berlin Syndrome,” and while it sounds like a familiar thriller, we’re sure Shortland will bring her unique touch to the material.
Max Riemelt (“Sense8”) will co-star. Production is slated to begin later this year, with the movie aiming to be finished by next spring, so mark this one for the 2016 festival circuit. We’re certainly eager to see what Shortland puts together.