In The Fade – Film Review by Frank L.
Director: Fatih Akin
Writers: Fatih Akin (written for screen by), Hark Bohm (author) (co-writer)
Stars: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar
Fatih Akin, who was born and brought up in Hamburg to Turkish immigrant parents, operates in the German urban space where second generation Turks are a distnctive part of a more culturally diverse society.
In this instance the story begins with a young Turk Nuri Sekerci (Numan Acar), who is serving a custodial sentance for a drug related offence, marrying Katja (Diane Kruger) an ethnic German woman. It then cuts to the time, he having left prison, when he has established a small retail business in a culturally mixed part of a city. Katja leaves Rocco, their six-year-old son, with Nuri in the shop while she goes about her business. As she leaves the shop she notices a young woman of very distinct Aryan appearance leave her new bike unlocked outside the shop. She has a brief exchange of words with her and goes on her way. Shortly afterwards there is an explosion and Nuri and Rocco are killed.
The film then deals with a series of prejudices and misconceptions arising from Katja’s own family and of Nuri’s family. In addition, the attitudes of the police are coloured strongly by the fact that Nuri was an ex-convict. Katja is convinced that it is a racist hate crime and that the Aryan girl with the new bike was partly responsible. She is one Edda Moller (Hanna Hillsdorf). Her husband Andre has known neo-Nazi views and his father, who despises neo-Nazis, gives information to the police against his own son. The Mollers are both charged with the explosion. The movie then concentrates on the twists and turns of their trial and also what happens after the trial.
In this regard, the performance of Diane Kruger demonstrates an extraordinary ability to embrace various distinct emotional moments – a happy young bride, proud mother and wife, heartbroken young childless widow, a crucial witness in a tightly fought trial and then the desire to seek revenge for what has been done to her life. It is a vast part. Kruger gives a masterclass in performig it.
There are a series of tense moments throughout. The courtroom scenes are dominated by the two lawyers Danilo Fava (Denis Moschitto) Nuri’s friend and an emotional prop to Katja and Haberbeck (Johannes Krisch) as each tries to colour the evidence in their client’s favour. It is an intense encounter. In addiiton an entirely different type of tension accompanies Katja’s revenge where Kruger’s calmness and calculation displays once again her mastery of the character.
Akin’s film is highly topical as Europe grapples with multiculturalism. He exposes the fanatical hatred that exists in certain individuals to others who are ethnically different. Chillingly he displays the purity of that hatred. He has created a film which could be depressing. It is not. Kruger’s performance coupled with the tension that Akin manages to generate makes it a film well worth seeing.