With laconic, partially theatrical-seeming dialogues and dark sounds, director Mareike Wegener creates a mixture of a disturbing provincial crime thriller, the contemporary echo myth and reckoning with history in the symbolic German forest.
After a tour in Afghanistan, chief superintendant Saskia Harder (Valery Tscheplanowa) returns to her police duty in a west German province. A moor corpse is found in the wintery nowhere land of fictional North Rhine-Westphalian Friedland. In the dark forest, Harder and her colleague Alfons Tenhagen (Andreas Döhler) begin to investigate with the help of the craggy moor master (Ursula Werner) – and come across oddballs. In a nearby, picturesque moated castle lives withdrawn Lorenz von Hüning together with a talking parrot who lost his daughter Beate decades ago and now dedicates himself to collecting rocks and animal skeletons and the nymph painting Les Oréades. Is Beate the corpse in the moor? Superintendant Harder keep getting flashbacks from the war during her investigation, visually presented as pink fog, which accompanies a modern Echo nymph.
With laconic, partially theatrical-seeming dialogue and dark sounds played by the WDR Big Band, director Mareike Wegener creates a mixture of a disturbing provincial crime thriller and a reckoning with history in the symbolic German forest, reminiscent of Saralisa Volm‘s SCHWEIGEND STEHT DER WALD. Wegener shows the omnipresent echo of the war and the unspoken things that the forest and moor hide in a weird but genius way that work on several, interlocking levels. By the time a local in the middle of the haunting-placid village loudly declares that the “guilt cult“ and “acquired self-hatred“ is over, it comes to light that it isn‘t just the unexploded bombs in the ground that have left traces of World War 2 – the ideas continue to have an effect on people‘s minds.
Translation: Elinor Lewy
Original title: Echo
Deutschland 2022, 98 min
Director: Mareike Wegener
Author: Mareike Wegener
DOP: Sabine Panossian
Montage: Mareike Wegener
Music: Thom Kubli
Cast: Valery Tscheplanowa, Andreas Döhler, Ursula Werner, Fedja van Huêt
- OV Original version
- OmU Original with German subtitles
- OmeU Original with English subtitles
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