TIFF 2017 “In the Fade” Review: A Captivating and Poignant Film
Films like In the Fade are why I always tell people to deal with subtitles and watch a foreign film. In the Fade tells the story of Katja (Diane Kruger), a mother and wife who after leaving her son and husband, Nuri (Numan Acar) for the day, returns to her husband’s office and is faced with a horrifying scene. A bomb has been set off outside of the office, and her son and Nuri are missing. Following the bombing, police officers come to the house to help try to identify the DNA of the body parts they found. Katja is devastated but finds the strength to answer questions. It is determined that the body parts belong to her six-year-old son and her husband. The rest of the film is spent investigating the bombing, the trial, and the events after the trial.
The film is divided into three parts. “The Family,” “Justice,” and “The Sea.” We start out with the introduction to Katja and Nuri as they marry while he is incarcerated. The following few minutes are establishing their family just before it is painfully ripped from her. As we follow Katja through the stages of grief and throughout the trial and aftermath, we see the desperation, emotion, and hopelessness in her eyes. We feel her pain, her anger and her loneliness. This is thanks to the spectacular performance given by Diane Kruger. Her raw emotions in the film bring Katja’s struggle and pain right to the heart of the audience. We empathize with every emotion and understand her actions as if they were our own.
During the trial, her lawyer, Danilo Fava (Denis Moschitto) shines. He is poised and professional, but when tested on the ridiculousness of having to defend the victim and his wife because he had a past that was a little muddled, he gives one of the most powerful speeches in recent film history. It cuts to the core and invigorates the audience with a sense of moral justice. Denis Moschitto was perfect.
The visuals in the film are crafted so beautifully. There are a few striking scenes that have stuck with me since the film. There is one scene where Katja can’t handle her pain and slits her wrists, and sits in the tub. The combination of her son’s toy pirate ship, the white of the bathtub and the visual gushing of red plumes of blood filling the tub, it is incredibly striking. Another scene involves Katja going to the site of the bombing after forensics, and the police had cleared it. The shot is simply just Katja standing against this gray slab wall riddled with shrapnel and speckled with blood and her falling apart. It was so stunningly sad. During the film, we are given little clips of her son and Nuri that are so well woven into the story. We see a video of Katja, her son when she is fixing his toy, and he tells her she is the best. These moments are so well-placed and further enrich the story and the characters. Often with films where characters are killed off in the first few minutes, you feel like you don’t know them and the emotional impact is felt less. With In the Fade, director Fatih Akin uses these clips and Katja’s emotions to reel in the emotions of the audience. We learn to love Katja’s husband and son as the film progresses, deepening our devastation with their loss.
In the Fade is a truly incredible film with beautiful visuals, a deeply emotional and poignant story with a truly stunning cast. Diane Kruger easily earns her Cannes 2017 Best Actress Award. Fatih Akin has created a truly spectacular film that will leave you breathless.