Dreileben: Beats Being Dead

Dreileben: Beats Being Dead (Etwas Besseres Als Den Tod) is the first segment (directed by Christian Petzold) in a crime / thriller trilogy. The three-parter experiment in narrative structuring involves three separate protagonists placed in the same fictional universe. Synopsis as follows (via NYFF):

“A convicted killer, released under police custody to pay his last respects to his late mother, escapes from a country hospital at the start of director Christian Petzold’s genre-bending, wonderfully unpredictable Beats Being Dead. But the film soon comes to center on the story of two star-crossed lovers: Johannes (Jacob Matschenz), a shy young hospital orderly, and Bosnian refugee Ana (Luna Mijovic), whom Johannes nobly rescues from the clutches of her abusive biker boyfriend. In the background, a police manhunt proceeds apace, while in the foreground Petzold reminds us there is sometimes nothing as dangerous as first love.”

More about the entire three part project (via TIFF):

“A trio of interlocking films rather than a standard trilogy or omnibus, Dreileben is an invigorating experiment in narrative construction by three of Germany’s leading filmmakers. Christian Petzold (whose Jerichow screened at the Festival in 2008), Dominik Graf and Christoph Hochhäusler began an impassioned e-mail exchange prompted by the German film magazine Revolver. That conversation — on the implications of film style and genre, aesthetic possibility and the so-called Berlin School, a loose movement of contemporary German auteurs — led to the creation of one the most exciting collaborative film projects in recent times, in which attentive viewing yields surprising pleasures and chills aplenty.

The premise of Dreileben (literally “three lives”) stems from an incident in which a convicted murderer and sex offender escaped from a hospital, setting off a manhunt. Each director chose a different angle from which to tell the story, and did so in their respective signature style. The result is an idiosyncratic yet modestly masterful cubist puzzle in which points of view continuously shift focus, and a transmuted storyline engages the audience’s imagination and sense of visual recall. The films cumulatively reveal parallel worlds, moving from Petzold’s cool, Hitchcockian romantic thriller (Beats Being Dead); to Graf’s novelistic criminal investigation (Don’t Follow Me Around); to Hochhäusler’s dual psychological character study that veers toward a Thuringian fairytale. A feverish tension builds over the five-hour whole as characters intersect and suspicions are overturned.

Although made by filmmaker/critics, Dreileben checks its theory at the door to give us the year’s most refreshing, playful and clever instances of inter-narrative filmmaking.”

The DVD / Bluray release trailer can be viewed down below:

DVD / Bluray release trailer.

Clip from Beats Being Dead.

Dreileben: Beats Being Dead (Etwas Besseres Als Den Tod)