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Loose Pages: Sideshow and Janus Films Scoop up Petzold’s “Afire”

Loose Pages: Sideshow and Janus Films Scoop up Petzold’s “Afire”

After landing Lila Avilés’ Tótem, Sideshow and Janus Films returned to the same Berlinale competition well and scooped up their second title in just as many days. The winner of the Silver Bear (essentially the 2nd place prize), Christian Petzold’s Afire will receive its theatrical release this summer. Our Nicholas Bell was big on the title stating in his review:

There’s also an expression of the experimental this time around, focusing on a trio of intelligent creatives who are at a specific transitional precipice during one quiet summer soon to be consumed by a raging forest fire. There’s a greater blight, however, than the razing of Mother Nature occupying Petzold’s narrative. An obnoxious, self-consumed male writer, oblivious to his surroundings but whose perspective comes to be challenged, is the driving force behind this fable of how creativity and receptiveness are symbiotic.”

Afire follows four young people who convene at a holiday house by the Baltic Sea. Plagued by drought, the surrounding landscape soon begets fires, while inside the house emotions heat up: happiness, lust, love, along with jealousies, resentments and tensions.

While early and with Angela Schanelec’s Music in the conversation, this Petzold film could be in the running for Germany’s submission to the Oscars.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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