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NZIFF: Afire


  • Fri 11 Aug 2023, 5:45pm




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Lisa Feyen

Christian Petzold braids desire, artistic insecurity and the looming threat of climate change in his smouldering comedy of manners set over the course of a hot summer holiday on a Baltic coastline beset with forest fires.

Two friends, insecure novelist Leon and photographer Felix, head to a holiday home near the Baltic Sea to work on their projects. When they arrive, however, they find the home occupied by seasonal worker Nadja and her lifeguard lover Devid, who are anxious about forest fires nearby. The four share the cottage, much to the chagrin of Leon, who, while attracted to Nadja, bitterly dismisses her and goes about denying himself all of summer’s pleasures in a futile attempt to gain traction on his latest manuscript. As the fires grow closer, lust and resentment set in and heat rises between the housemates.
Awarded the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, Afire is the second film in a planned trilogy of features centred around the elements of water, fire and earth. Directed by German filmmaker Christian Petzold (Barbara [NZIFF 2012], Transit [NZIFF 2018], Undine [NZIFF 2021]), the film is a darkly comic yet tragic ensemble piece in the age of climate anxiety.
Rated M

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