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“In the Fade” confronts terrorism with revenge

Updated: May 6, 2018


Katja (Diane Kruger) is a young wife and mother, happily married to a Kurdish immigrant from Turkey, and living a quiet life in Hamburg with him and their little boy. (Magnolia Home Entertainment)


Blu-ray, DVD; 2017; R for violence, drugs, profanity; streaming via Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu

Best extra: Interview with writer/director Fatih Akin

“IN THE FADE” is a loose translation of the German “Aus dem nichts,” which literally means “from nothing,” but is more in keeping with the film’s plot as “out of the blue.”

For actress/model Diane Kruger, who is German but left her country before she became an actress, “In the Fade” is her first German film. And what a homecoming it is. Although snubbed by the Academy Awards, it was nominated for a best foreign film award by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the Golden Globes. For the starring role of Katja, Kruger won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival.

Katja is a young wife and mother, happily married to a Kurdish immigrant from Turkey, and living a quiet life in Hamburg with him and their little boy. One day, after dropping her son off at her husband’s office, a bomb explodes. The office, where her husband had been working to help other Turkish immigrants, is destroyed, and Katja’s family is killed. She soon guesses the perpetrators must be neo-Nazis, whose members have been victimizing immigrant, particularly Muslim, communities.

Katja is proven right, and the young couple accused of the crime are brought to trial, with Katja’s friend and lawyer (Denis Moschitto) seeking justice. But the outcome is not the conviction she’d hoped for. Katja deals with her overwhelming grief by setting out on a journey of revenge.

This Magnolia Home Entertainment Blu-ray looks and sounds state-of-the-art in HD, with all skin tones reading true, plenty of details, and good depth and contrast. The audio is perfectly balanced, with realistic effects and clear (German) dialogue, enhanced with English subtitles.

Extras include a few brief promo-type featurettes and two substantial interviews with Kruger and Akin. Akin is the German son of Turkish immigrants. He recalls being a teenager in the early 1990s, when there were several terrorist attacks in Germany perpetrated by neo-Nazis, particularly instances in which Molotov cocktails were thrown at Turkish houses, killing women and children. Akin acknowledges that he could easily have been one of the casualties.

Now that he has his own children, he decided to write this “Psychological thriller about the victims... How do they go on? What is a mother without a child? A wife without a husband?” Akin refers to his working relationship with Kruger as a “perfect dialogue,” calling it a “dream team.” He says he never worked with anyone as “focused and concentrated” as Kruger. Akin says he hopes the film is controversial and raises questions, especially about the criminal justice system.

Katja’s friend and lawyer (Denis Moschitto) during the trial.
Katja and the father of the neo-Nazi bombing suspect

He adds that when he wrote the final draft of the screenplay, he “revisited the ’90s,” including listening to music popular at the time. He had been a fan of Queens of the Stone Age, so he contacted the band’s founder, Josh Homme, for permission to use some of their songs. Instead, Homme offered to write an original score, so Akin sent him a rough cut of the film to work with.

Akin concludes by describing the impact he hopes “In the Fade” will make: “First, I want to entertain my audience, tell a story, but also try to hit them … give them something to think about.”

— Peggy Earle




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