Legend has it that Undine, a water nymph from European mythology, transforms into a human when she falls in love. However, if the man of her desire betrays her, he must die. Writer and director Christian Petzold retells the Undine myth against the backdrop of modern day Berlin. Undine Wibeau (Paula Beer) is a historian specializing in the history of Berlin’s urban development . Right before one of her lectures her boyfriend Johannes (Jacob Matschenz) breaks up with her to pursue a relationship with another woman. Undine knows she must kill Johannes, and even tells him so, but soon becomes distracted by another man. Christoph (Franz Rogowski) is a professional diver who attends one of Undine’s lectures. Their first meeting almost cost Christoph’s his life but Undine saves him and they soon fall in love. However, Johannes is soon back in the picture and Undine is soon faced with her cursed destiny.
“If you leave me, I have to kill you. You know that.”Undine
Undine is a quiet and sometimes peculiar retelling of a classic myth. It is light on fantastical elements and instead focuses on modern day realism. Paula Beer plays the mystifying Undine Wibeau with such skill. Beer’s Undine is haunting, mysterious, and beautiful; an enigma who will enchant viewers. It is so easy to get caught up in the film’s love story. Patient viewers will be rewarded generously.
Undine hits select theaters June 4th and will also be available on digital and VOD platforms.