Undine is set in Berlin. A city where its historical value is closely related to collapse but also unity. At the Märkisches Museum, that history is immortalized through architectural mockups and blueprints. But for the protagonist, who works freelance there as a guide, there is something else perpetuated in every corner of Berlin besides German reunification. It is a love story.
We’ve all experienced it. It doesn’t have to be Berlin. For example, Yogyakarta. In some people’s heads, when they see Taman Sari, what appears in their heads is not a water palace from the time of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, but a place where they once held hands with their lover, the location of their first date, or something like that. Best Movie Site
Christian Petzold (Barbara, Phoenix, Transit) as the director and scriptwriter, modernizes the Ondine/Undine mythology, which is actually tragic and tends to talk about obsession and betrayal, to tell how meaningful love is, complete with all the joys, sorrows, and sacrifices in it.
Undine is a mythological creature of water, which inspired Hans Christian Andersen to give birth to The Little Mermaid. But in this film, she looks like an ordinary human, and until the end, the truth about her figure, whether a creature with magical powers, or just an ordinary woman who is ruled by love, remains ambiguous.
The first time we meet Undine (played by Paula Beer whose aura is shrouded in mystery), she is having an argument with her lover, Johannes (Jacob Matschenz). Johannes is seduced by another woman, while Undine says he will kill Johannes if he leaves. Yes, just like the fairy tale. Unfortunately, the threat did not work. Johannes left Undine.
The separation apparently led to a meeting between Undine and Christoph (Franz Rogowski). It didn’t take long for them to fall in love with each other. Following next was Petzold’s presentation of his second romance, immortalized in Berlin halls. If previously Undine saw the figure of Johannes in a mock-up at the museum, now the architectural landscape of the city gives rise to a vision of two lovebirds who are intoxicated with romance.
For 90 minutes, Undine runs very simply. Purely a love story. It’s memorable, because Petzold, with his sensitive direction, understands what makes romance memorable. Movie Review
Undine lives separately with Christoph, who works as a diver. The meeting only happened every weekend, where they took turns visiting their respective homes by train. Viewers who have experienced long-distance relationships, will agree that the director is good at romanticizing the moment of meeting and parting.
How enthusiastically greeted the couple who stepped out of the carriage, or when the same carriage became a barrier when it was time to say “bye”. Instead of sadness, the separation actually brings other happiness. Because it means, we are getting closer to meeting at the end of the following week.
What are Undine and Christoph doing together? Again very simple. Occasionally accompanied by a Concerto in D minor, Bach’s BWV 974, apart from traveling around Berlin, the two were more often in the room. Petzold is more interested in showing the post-sex moment than the sex itself. Because there, interaction is no longer only in the physical realm, but also in the soul.
For example, when Undine was given a sudden extra job by her boss, and had to practice her lecture all night. The content of the lectures is ordinary, if you don’t want to be called boring for people outside of history lovers. Christoph was clearly not in that category. But he wanted to listen carefully to Undine’s chatter. Meanwhile, Undine, who usually lectured without enthusiasm, this time seemed enthusiastic. His eyes sparkled, his mouth smiled. That’s when you fall in love. Even boring little things will sound interesting, even beautiful.
The second half provides a turning point, while briefly thickening the mystical feel of a fairy tale, which actually shows how cliché Undine’s plot is. But isn’t love a cliché? Two strangers meet, know each other, are attracted to each other, make out, fight, then make up and either stay together or separate. The direction is always the same, but so is the charm. Because falling in love is not normal. Top Movie