Slamdance Film Festival
Director: Constanze Knoche
When a son gives his father a degrading nickname like “the visitor,” that usually indicates their relationship is not going too well. But even though this is a German film with subtitles, director Constanze Knoche delivers a dramatic story that easily translates across language barriers. Jakob and Hanna are married, in their 50s and their three adult children, Arnolt, Sonni, and Karla, have all moved out of the house. But as the years have gone by, the family has slowly drifted apart and they rarely see one another. However, that changes when Jakob has some bad news about his job and travels to Berlin to tell each of his children in person and without notice. The story unfolds from there, with great twists and turns that pull the family apart, but ultimately reveal the strong family bond they share. The ending is left open for the audience to interpret, but that just adds more intrigue to a great script. The cast in this film is truly exceptional, as the chemistry among them is as real as an actual family. Knoche also does a great job tapping into every emotion at some point in the film, but never crosses the line of being unrealistic.