Following on from exorcism drama Requiem and Stasi surveillance thriller The Lives Of Others, Longing is further proof of a resurgence in German film. A deceptively simple account of a love triangle unfolding in the countryside outside Berlin, it’s the debut feature of writer/director Valeska Grisebach. Volunteer fireman Markus (Andreas Müller) is in love with wife Ella (Ilka Welz) but after sleeping with waitress Anett Dornbusch on a training weekend, finds himself torn between the two women.
Like the Dardenne brothers, Grisebach is sparing with the dialogue, focusing her lens on the material and the physical – whether it’s faces, landscapes or objects – to allow us to ponder the inner lives of characters shaken by the intensity of their feelings. While the non-professional cast add to the documentary feel, Longing is blessed with a coda that provides a fresh perspective on the film’s tragic events, making a quiet drama echo loudly.