Directors: Dani Levy, Maria Schrader
Feature film | Germany, Switzerland | 1998
108 min | Dolby 5.1

57th Hof International Film Festival
Retrospective Maria Schrader

When German Jew Lena Katz goes to pick up her mother from a New York hotel for her birthday dinner, she finds a strange woman lying in a pool of blood in the hotel corridor. Lena accompanies this seriously injured woman to the emergency ward where she meets the latter’s son, David Fish. It is love at first sight for both of them. David’s mother dies of her injuries that same night and Lena’s mother, although she has just arrived, leaves New York without an explanation.

The dead woman in the New York hotel is a mystery: Was it an accident or was she murdered? David, the dead woman’s son, sets out into the heat of New York together with a rather shady lawyer, Kaminski, to investigate the case. In the course of the investigations, Kaminski’s suspicions of Lena’s family grow, as well as the passion of those involved, David and Lena. Fear and the turmoil of emotions, however, mean that Lena misses any opportunity to confess her origins. When she learns of the impending burden of proof against her own mother, she is faced with the most difficult decision in her life: should she protect her family whose dark secrets and entanglements she knows nothing of, or should she confide in David and the increasingly sinister Kaminski in order to solve the crime between their two families?

Torn between their feelings and fear of the truth, David and Lena finally learn about the tragic and fateful link between their families. Shadows from a past before Lena and David were born wrench the two families out of an idyll that has lasted for decades.

With Dani Levy, David Strathairn, Erin Rakow, Jeffrey Wright, Lukas Ammann, Lynn Cohen, Maria Schrader, Nicole Heesters, R.j. Cutler, Stephanie Roth

Screenplay Jan Schomburg, Cinematography Marc Comes, Editing Bernd Euscher, Production design Cora Pratz, Casting Regina Tiefenthaller, Sound William Franck, Music Christopher Bremus, Stefan Schwalbe, Tobias Wagner, Make-up Astrid Weber, Martina Ostländer, Production Claudia Steffen, Christoph Friedel