It’s spooky how easily Christian Petzold’s Transit juxtaposes the mass escape from Germany in 1940 with the mass migrations of today. There should not be so many parallels between the two movements, 70 or 80 years apart, but there are. His movie is based on the 1944 novel Transit by Anna Seghers, which mainly takes place in Marseille and is about a small group of German migrants who want to flee Nazi Germany and get a transit visa in order to get to Mexico. Petzold’s movie shows them in today’s Marseille, trying to flee the country, but getting stuck in the red tape procedures that must be all too familiar to any migrant anywhere. Continue reading
There is a strange beauty to it all: the geometry of the almost deserted aisles, the precarious stacks of beer crates, the discrete whoosh of electric pallet carriers zooming to and fro (to “The Blue Danube”, no less!), and all of it during the graveyard shift. In the half-dark, the superstore is less of an abomination that is part supermarket, part warehouse: it is a refuge for the assorted sad sacks and losers that work there, most likely because they wouldn’t find anything else. These are the outskirts of East Germany almost thirty years after Reunification, and the reality is drab and depressing – but at night, in the aisles, you may just find something you don’t have anywhere else: a home.