© Pandora Filmverleih

Halt auf freier Strecke (Stopped on Track)
Germany/France 2011

Opening 17 Nov 2011

Directed by: Andreas Dresen
Writing credits: Andreas Dresen, Cooky Ziesche
Principal actors: Steffi Kühnert, Milan Peschel, Talisa Lilly Lemke, Mika Seidel, Ursula Werner

Forty-year-old Frank and his wife Simone are shocked and speechless when the friendly but helpless doctor explains the devastating diagnosis of Frank’s brain tumour. It is inoperable, and he has about three months to live. How does one come to terms with this kind of situation; how to tell the children Mika and Lili?

At first, the family tries to keep to their daily routine until Frank has to stop working. Simone takes on the demanding task of caring for her husband at home. We witness tender and funny moments as well as the strain the family has to shoulder. It is troubling to see Frank’s mental and physical deterioration, but one can also laugh at the scurrile and unwittingly crazy scenes. For some viewers it might be an all-to-accurate and realistic portrayal of Frank’s dying, but some of the funny and poetic scenes will make up for it. This emotionally touching film never becomes melodramatic and surprisingly left me with positive feeling.

The temperamental outbursts by Steffi Khunert as the wife and Milan Peschel as the cancer patient are convincing, contrasting the tender moments. Also the two children (Mika Seidel and Talisa Lilly Lemke) have to be praised for acting their very natural characters.

Filmmaker Andreas Dresen is taking a brave, honest and unsentimental look at death. He even abstains from using any music score and engaged laymen, like the doctor, nurse and care personnel, to act their parts in the film. This makes for a particularly authentic touch. At the film festival in Cannes 2011, the movie received the highest award in the category Un Certain Regard. (Birgit Schrumpf)

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