22nd Annual European Union Film Festival
Screening Dates
  • November 23, 2019 6:30

A sombre, intelligent piece in which psychological finesse combines with historical analysis to result in genuine dramatic heft.”

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

The late, beloved Bruno Ganz (also star of Austria’s EUFF pick The Tobacconist) is a Communist patriarch whose ironclad ideologies are on the downswing in German TV veteran Matti Geschonneck’s acclaimed ensemble dramedy. Adapted from Eugen Ruge’s prize-winning novel, this Berlinale-bowed picture, set in East Berlin in 1989, centres on a gathering to celebrate the 90th birthday of decorated Party hardliner Wilhelm Powileit (Ganz), whose grandson just decamped to West Berlin. As family, well-wishers, and comrades sardine into the increasingly undersized abode of Wilhelm’s stepson (Sylvester Groth, Inglourious Basterds), vodka-lubricated emotions run high, and the carefully manicured façade that the GDR is imperishable starts to crack.