Dir: Anna Justice. Germany. 2011. 105mins
An assured and moving real-life love story set against the backdrop of a German concentration camp in Poland during 1944, Remembrance is a powerful film that should attract festival interest as well as attention from distributors used to handling wartime dramas.
The story is a moving and provocative.
Directed by Anna Justice (who made 2007’s Max Minski And Me), the film has a traditional and solid structure and relies on the harrowing story – inspired by actual events – rather than taking any cinematic risks, and is driven by impressive lead performances by Alice Dwyer and Mateusz Damiecki as the young couple who fall in love during the darkest of times.
Remembrance – which had the original German title of Die Verlorene Zeit – traces the love affair between young Jewish woman Hannah (Dwyer) and Polish political prisoner Tomasz (Damiecki), both imprisoned in a concentration camp. They try and meet secretly and against all the odds Hannah discovers she is pregnant.
Tomasz steals an SS uniform and bluffs his way past the guards, managing to walk Hannah out of the camp. The pair go on the run, eventually making their way to Tomasz’s family home, where they find German officers have confiscated the stately home. While Hannah recovers, Tomasz joins the resistance in Warsaw, and in the confusion after the war the two lose touch, with Tomasz convinced that she has died.
Their wartime love-story is punctuated with scenes from New York in 1976, where an older Hannah (Dagmar Manzel) glimpses a television interview with a man she believes is Tomasz. She can’t bring herself to reveal the truth to her American husband and grown-up daughter, and starts to try and contact Tomasz once again.
The story is a moving and provocative with Anna Justice handling the wartime romance with restraint and compassion, aided by fine cinematography and production design. Alice Dwyer is impressive as the young Hannah, though Dagmar Manzel – as the more elderly version – gets more acting work to do in terms of emotional range as Hannah slightly starts to fall apart as the possibility of contacting her former love grows closer.
Production company: MediaPark
International sales: Atrix Films, www.atrix-films.com
Producer: Sven Woldt
Associate producer: Michael Ballhaus
Screenplay: Pamela Katz
Cinematography: Sebastian Edschmid
Editor: Uta Schmidt
Production designer: Andreas Olshausen
Music: Julian Maas, Christoph M Kaiser
Main cast: Dagmar Manzel, Alice Dwyer, Mateusz Damiecki, Lech Mackiewicz, Susanne Lothar, Florian Lucas, David Rasche