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Writer-director Christian Petzold (Transit) riffs on the German myth of the water nymph whose love of a man secures her an immortal human soul. Undine (Paula Beer) is a historian in a leather jacket, her red hair recalling another Little Mermaid. “If you leave me, I’ll have to kill you,” she warns boyfriend Johannes (Jacob Matschenz), as per the fairytale. He dumps her anyway.
Soon enough she has a new beau, a gorgeous industrial diver named Christoph (Franz Rogowski). The force of their initial attraction causes a fish tank to explode, soaking them to the skin. Undine gives lectures on Berlin’s changing architecture; this allows for neat parallels between a city haunted by the spectre of history and – like a gender-flipped Vertigo – our heroine tethered to the ghost of her past love.
There’s just enough magic and mystery to tease out a supernatural reading of the film, though Petzold encourages viewers to find pleasure in puzzling out his femme fatale for themselves.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Undine review – romance with just enough magic and mystery | Romance films