Adaptating German novelist Anna Seghers’s 1944 book Transit, Christian Petzold’s brilliant and haunting new film traces the journey of a hollowed-out European refugee, who has escaped from two concentration camps, to Marseille. Along the way he's assumed the identity of a dead novelist whose papers he is carrying. He enters the arid, threadbare world of the refugee community, where he becomes enmeshed in the lives of a desperate young mother and son and a mysterious woman named Marie. Transit is a film told in two tenses: 1940 and right now, historic past and immediate present, like two translucent panes held up to the light and mysteriously contrasting and blending.
Transit premiered at last year’s Berlinale as well as BAFICI, Jerusalem, Chicago, Sydney and NYFF, and is now playing at Lincoln Center.