Content Note: domestic violence, religious sects, suicide
Plot: Nathalie (Anna Maria Mühe) moves with her mother Caroline (Birge Schade) and her step-father Gregor (Samuel Finzi) to Berlin. It’s a big change for them, not only because they were in a small town before. It will be the first time that Nathalie attends a mixed school as her religious family had made sure so far that she attended only girls’ schools. As they are welcomed by the Berlin chapter of their congregation, Nathalie is determined to adhere to her religious principles in Berlin, too. But she can’t help to start questioning things.
Delphinsommer is a TV movie and that does show at times. At times it’s a bit shorthanded, at times it’s a bit on the nose. But it is interesting enough to watch.
Plot: Josef Bartok (Oliver Masucci) is a successful lawyer and a rich man. He follows the upcoming popular vote on the annexation of Austria to Germany with a clear distaste for the Nazis, but he is also sure that they cannot succeed. Out one night with his wife Anna (Birgit Minichmayr) he receives word, though: there will be no vote, the Nazis are taking over – and they are coming for him. Bartok takes care to destroy his ledgers, making his clients’ funds inaccessible, but he gets caught and is delivered into the mercy of Franz-Josef Böhm (Albrecht Schuch). In the subsequent months of torture, a booklet on chess is Bartok’s only hope to get through everything.
Schachnovelle is a good, intense film that could have maybe dialled it down a little. But that’s more a matter of taste than anything else – I thought it was very strong.
Plot: Plastic surgeon Claus (Oliver Masucci) and landscape architect Evi (Katja Riemann) are successful and rich, living in a chique villa in a fashionable area. But one day, their cleaner doesn’t show up. Dismayed, Claus puts an ad in the newspaper for a new cleaner, but thinking it funny, he writes that he is looking for a slave. The ad is a full success, much to his surprise. But even more surprisingly they actually find somebody among the applicants who might work: Bartos (Samuel Finzi) and later his wife Lana (Lize Feryn) move in to give the arrangement a try. And Claus and Evi quickly adapt to the all-around service.
Herrliche Zeiten is a little obvious in where it is going, but I liked the idea enough to have it still be interesting. There are cringeworthy moments and the ending didn’t entirely work for me, but it was never boring and I enjoyed watching it.
Plot: Marie Curie (Karolina Gruszka) is a researcher who is working on isolating radium together with her husband Pierre (Charles Berling). Things are going pretty well until Pierre dies in an accident. Suddenly Marie – who keeps working despite her grief – has to defend herself and her capability to do the job, with people around her doubting that she would be able to do anything without Pierre. With researcher Paul Langevin (Arieh Worthalter) at her side, she persists regardless. Even when their very relationship becomes cause to doubt Curie’s morality.
Marie Curie is an interesting take on an interesting woman. It does have a couple of lengths and I would have appreciated it if it hadn’t focused almost entirely on her relationships with men, but I definitely enjoyed it.