Transit (2018)

# 16181 IMDb Not Rated 

Transit (2018

taglineThe New Masterwork from the Director of Phoenix and Barbara

Director: Christian Petzold

Stars: Justus von Dohnányi, Franz Rogowski, Barbara Auer, Paula Beer, Trystan Pütter

Drama, Sci-Fi (1h 41min)

Germany Germany, France France

Rated 7.0 after 3,899 votes, 82% postive reviews on 27-Aug-19.

5 wins & 12 nominations


Set in seemingly contemporary times, a man who belongs to a persecuted minority attempts to escape from fascist-run France to America but falls in love with the wife of a dead author whose identity he has assumed.


Christian Petzold (director) Franz Rogowski Paula Beer Godehard Giese Maryam Zaree Barbara Auer Matthias Brandt

Franz Rogowski (Georg), Paula Beer (Marie), Godehard Giese (Richard), Lilien Batman (Driss), Maryam Zaree (Melissa), Barbara Auer (Architect / Frau), Matthias Brandt (Barmann / Erzähler), Sebastian Hülk (Paul), Emilie de Preissac (Chambermaid in Paris Hotel), Antoine Oppenheim (Binnet), Louison Tresallet (Jean Binnet), Justus von Dohnányi (Conductor), Alex Brendemühl (Mexican Consul), Trystan Pütter (American Consul), Ronald Kukulies, Agnès Regolo, Thierry Otin, Grégoire Monsaingeon, Elisa Voisin, Brahim El Abdouni (as Brahim Elabdouni), Jean-Jérôme Esposito, Stina Soliva

From the same director


Christian Petzold (adaptation), Anna Seghers (novel)

Produced by

Antonin Dedet (producer), Florian Koerner von Gustorf (producer), Olivier Père (co-producer), Andreas Schreitmüller (commissioning editor: arte), Caroline von Senden (commissioning editor: ZDF)



Transit is based on a 1944 novel by Anna Seghers, in turn based on her experiences as a German Jewish Communist political refugee in Marseilles trying to get out of Vichy France to Mexico. The protagonist is a German illegally in France, who travels from Paris to Marseilles, through chance assumes the identity of a dead German leftist writer who has an exit visa to Mexico, and finds himself involved with both the writer's estranged wife and the wife and son of a fellow German illegal.

What made the movie work for me is that it is not a routine World War II vintage costume drama. Director-Writer Christian Petzold has chosen to set the entire story in present day France. There are no Nazis, no swastikas, and no political explanations. There are only the omnipresent French police checking papers in the street, raiding hotels and apartments, and rounding up illegal aliens for deportation to an unnamed destination, assisted by good French citizens either venal or patriotic, and the desperate struggle of the refugees to procure legitimate identity and travel documents in the face of bureaucratic indifference or hostility. It all feels like it could be happening six months from now, there or, for that matter, here. The contemporary setting greatly increases the tension by taking away historical cues -- you have no idea how it is going to come out or whether the hero will make his getaway to Mexico.

Memorable quotes

Georg: Then he thought, 'This is Marseille.' A port city. Port cities are cities, in which is told. That's what they're there for. And these people have the right to tell and that you listen inside.

7 total 


According to Christian Petzold, Transit is the last chapter of his trilogy called "Love in Times of Oppressive Systems". The trilogy also includes Barbara (2012) and Phoenix (2014).

4 total 


5 wins & 12 nominations 
Bavarian Film Awards • Berlin International Film Festival • Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema • Chicago International Film Festival • Dublin International Film Festival • Film by the Sea International Film Festival • German Film Awards • German Film Critics Association Awards • Guenter Rohrbach Filmpreis • Indiewire Critics' Poll • International Cinematographers' Film Festival Manaki Brothers • Jerusalem Film Festival • Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival • Nuremberg Film Festival "Turkey-Germany" • Portland International Film Festival • Sydney Film Festival

Other titles

Transit ((original title); Argentina; Canada (French title); Israel (Hebrew title); Romania; Turkey (Turkish title); USA) • Em Trânsito (Brazil; Portugal) • Транзит (Bulgaria (Bulgarian title); Russia; Ukraine) • Tranzit (Hungary; Romania (alternative title)) • La donna dello scrittore (Italy) • Tranzyt (Poland) • En tránsito (Spain)



Argentina:13 / Brazil:12 / Canada:PG / Canada:PG / Canada:PG / Canada:G / Denmark:11 / Finland:K-12 / Germany:12 / Hungary:16 / Ireland:12A / Japan:G / Netherlands:16 / New Zealand:M / Norway:12 / Portugal:M/12 / Singapore:PG13 / Spain:12 / Sweden:11 / Switzerland:12 / Taiwan:PG-12 / Turkey:13+ / United States:Not Rated



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