No Place to Go
original title: Die Unberührbare
dir-scr Oskar Roehler
with Hannelore Elsner, Vadim Glowna, Michael Gwisdek, Jasmin Tabatabai, Lars Rudolph, Nina Petri, Tonio Arango, Charles Regnier, Bernd Stempel, Claudia Geisler, Catherine H Flemming, Helga Goring
release UK 15.Jun.01
00/Germany 1h40 4½ out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
Fading glamour. The fall of communism in Germany makes Hanna (Elsner) take a harsh look at herself.
A moving portrait of a woman's life, Oskar Roehler's evocative film is like a dark, serious version of It's a Wonderful Life. We begin with a suicide attempt, as the aging novelist Hanna Flanders (Elsner) loses her place in the world when the Berlin Wall is dismantled in 1989. Her books are not getting published anymore due to her radical political views, and her old world glamour sits at odds with the gritty realities of post-communist Germany. So she reverts to her past, packing up her Munich apartment and moving to Berlin to be with her old boyfriend (Gwisdek). But he has a new life as well, so now she's homeless, wandering in the bleak Soviet landscape, relying on the comfort of strangers and eventually revisiting her parents and her ex-husband (Glowna) in an effort to make sense of her life.

Filmed in black and white, the story has an eternal quality that draws us in ... and Elsner's astonishing performance keeps us right with her from start to finish. It's such an intimate, introspective portrait of humanity that it snatches our breath away at several points due to the clever imagery, powerful themes and the simple transparency of Elsner's expressive face. It's also a very harsh film--gentle kindness turns to awful violence more than once, and we soon realise that Hanna's journey to self discovery won't be nearly as hopeful as George Bailey's! Gripping, beautiful, powerful stuff.

[themes, language] 24.Nov.00 German Film Fest

No Place to Go was Germany's official submission for the 2001 Best Foreign Film Oscar.

send your review to Shadows... ~~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~

Thomas J. Carrieri, net: "In a Vienna subway the movie trailer Die Unberuhrbare played and the image of Hannelore Elsner flicked in endless delightful loops as she dashed across a broken black and white landscape, and I stood mesmerized by it all. When I returned to America I sought out the dvd, and although I have limited play due to region codes, the times I spent watching it are treasured memories."

© 2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall