Directed by Andreas Dresen
Screenplay by Andreas Dresen and Cooky Ziesche
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How do you depict the intangible? How do you put on screen what‘s so hard to grasp and understand in real life? Above all how do you manage to capture it in a way that is not overwhelming and romanticized, but rather honest and appropriate? The film Stopped on Track manages to do all this and maybe even more. Andreas Dresen‘s most recent fiction film is an intimate portrait of the development of a terminal brain tumor. The film sets off with a long opening scene in which the central character Frank (Milan Peschel) together with his wife Simone (Steffi Kühnert) receive his diagnoses. This opening takes unfamiliar, extensive and excruciating eight minutes in which the doctor (Uwe Träger) unfurls Frank‘s prognosis. During the scene the camera pans between the doctor, Frank and his wife, capturing their aghast and confused expressions letting us witness how both try to get a grip of what has just hit them. Much is said in the speechless, awkward moments that continuously appear during this interaction. It seizes the absurdity of the scenario of having to tell someone that they will die, not to mention being the one on the receiving end of these news. The story then develops with the progression of the cancer and focuses on how the family surrounding it‘s brilliant protagonist Milan Peschel as Frank, copes with the finite nature of the scenario. Dresen presents the fleeting nature of the last few months of a dying family man as heartfelt and without drama. The film exhibits the everyday routines unhinged from the ease they usually bare, as a fundamental factor – being able to execute them – is not a given anymore.
– Merle Fischer