Abendland review

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

Few would call Fred Keleman's austere German arthouse films (Fate, Frost) a breeze, but there's no doubting the intensity of this episodic tale of love-on-the-turn. We meet Anton (Wolfgang Michael) and Leni (Verena Jasch) when life has locked him out and she's still up for dancing. Over one arduous night, this carping couple split and head for the backstreets, bars and brothels of some squalid any-town, where numerous grotesque encounters with the nightfolk leave them scarred; emotionally, literally and probably for good.

If Keleman's bleak worldview seems almost wilful, with its random cruelties and images of burden, what keeps it from mere pocket-book pessimism is his uniquely potent mix of grim surrealist fantasy with dank realism and near-religious parable.

It's an unforgiving cine-poem of despair, all hauntingly spare images and long takes that suck you in as surely as the lack of any get out clause keeps you there. Tough going, but mesmerising all the same.

More info

Available platformsMovie

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.