Friday Night Film Series: “In the Fade”


“In the Fade”

The Film and Media Studies’ Friday Night Film Series screened the 2017 German film “In the Fade” on February 1 in Golden Auditorium. Directed by Fatih Akin, the film won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Foreign Language Film” in 2017. Diane Kruger won the 2017 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress award for her portrayal as the lead Katja.

The movie follows Katja’s emotional journey as she seeks justice and revenge for the death of her husband and son, who were murdered in a Neo-Nazi terrorist attack in Hamburg. The film is separated into three major scenes: “Family,” “Justice” and “The Sea,” each of which focuses on a pivotal moment in Katja’s psychological search for closure.

“Family” opened with Katja’s in-prison marriage to convicted felon Nuri Sekerci, documented by a disorienting hand camera reminiscent of old footage from horror films. The film skips to present day, the couple now running a successful travel agency in Hamburg, Germany with a six-year-old son, Rocco. Katja leaves the office on an errand, only to return to the disorienting blur of police investigating an explosion that was set off in front of the office, killing both her husband and son.

The movie takes the audience on an uncomfortable journey as Katja descends into depression, turning to substance abuse and isolation from her parents and friends in order to cope. In an act of desperation, she cuts her wrists and submerges into a tub of water that becomes clouded with blood. A voicemail that tells her suspects have been caught in association with the explosion makes her reemerge.

“Justice” details the court case Katja endures in order to convict the Neo-Nazi couple that bombed the office for Nuri’s Kurdish ancestry. In a convoluted process that exacerbates her mental state, the trial ends with the two being acquitted for reasonable doubt.

“The Sea” might hint at a peaceful conclusion to the story, but is was nothing like its title suggests. Katja moves to Greece to hunt down the Neo-Nazi couple and their corroborating group. In a fight between acceptance and revenge, she contemplates using the same explosive method to kill them. Just when it seems she has accepted her grief and decided to let them live, she straps the explosive to herself and sets it off in the couple’s trailer. It’s made clear that this act isn’t just senseless revenge. Through contemplation and a true under- standing of her state of mind, she realizes she doesn’t want to live with the hole left from losing her family. She takes her own life along with the Neo-Nazi’s, no longer forced to live with the guilt but able to exact her own justice.

“I was expecting her to fight the good fight, so that was a surprise. But I think it was powerful because it’s kind of commenting on internal, self-destructing tendencies,” sophomore Michael Tom said.

The film’s endnote detailed the multiple recent deaths in Germany caused by Neo-Nazi hate groups, revealing the film’s pressing nature and immediate message to our real world.

Contact Andrew Kish at [email protected].