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FLIGHT TO BERLIN

UK, 1984 (MIFF 1984)

Director: Christopher Petit

Ex-film critic Christopher Pent has come up with a remarkable thriller, exciting, mysterious, and laden with references to other films, among them "Blow Up", and his own detective movie "An Unsuitable Job For A Woman". The plot is fairly complicated, at times elusive, which does not interfere with the viewer's involvement, as the characters and the background details form a main part of the attraction.

Susannah is being interrogated by the police after she has been taken from a Berlin flat in the middle of the night—but the questions they ask she cannot answer. In flashbacks, her story unfolds; it transpires that she has come to Berlin from London after the death of a woman in mysterious circumstances.

The only person she contacts in Berlin after her arrival is Julie, her elder sister, whom she hardly knows, since they have been brought up ill separate countries. Julie is the centre of a group of shady characters with whom Susannah slowly becomes involved, including a French businessman, a self-confident young Englishman, and—Eddie Constantine, whose presence alone makes allusions to other films inevitable.

A witty dialogue and absurd comic details throughout make this extraordinary film highly enjoyable, and if it proves impossible to spot all the hidden references—there is still excellent acting and brilliant camerawork. Christopher Petit wrote and directed "Radio On"; adapted and directed "An Unsuitable Job For A Woman" from the novel by P. D. James (1981), "Flying Fish Over Hollywood", a profile of Wim Wenders for Channel 4 Television (1983).

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