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“If you leave me, I’ll have to kill you.” So begins the latest film from leading auteur Christian Petzold (Phoenix, WFF 2015), a modern riff on an ancient myth about a water nymph. Undine reunites Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski, the two captivating leads of Petzold’s Transit (WFF 2018), as star-crossed lovers caught up in a whirlwind romance. Industrial diver Christophe meets Undine as she’s giving a museum tour, and their bond is sealed when an aquarium explodes over them at a café, showering them with water and shattered glass. This beautiful, dreamlike sequence is emblematic of the film’s ability to cast a spell through the magnetic pull of its imagery and actors. As the couple transforms one another, Undine proceeds with the eerie, enigmatic logic of an adult fairy tale. “Heartfelt and profound. Hans Fromm’s crystalline cinematography trusts the gorgeous faces of the actors enough to let a look or a gesture tell the story. Beer and Rogowski are so good, and have such amazing chemistry, that it’s hard to look away or not root for them to be together” (The Hollywood Reporter). Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Actress and the FIPRESCI Award at the Berlin Film Festival. (MK)


Presented with support from the UW-Madison Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic Studies.


  • Year
    2020
  • Runtime
    90 minutes
  • Language
    German
  • Country
    Germany,France
  • Director
    Christian Petzold
  • Screenwriter
    Christian Petzold
  • Producer
    Florian Koerner Von Gustorf, Michael Weber
  • Co-Producer
    Margaret Ménégoz
  • Cast
    Paula Beer, Franz Rogowski, Maryam Zaree, Jacob Matschenz, Anne Ratte-Polle
  • Cinematographer
    Hans Fromm
  • Editor
    Bettina Böhler
  • Production Design
    Merlin Ortner
  • Sound Design
    Bettina Böhler, Benjamin Hörbe, Dominik Schleier