Refugees flee a fascist France.
Rogowski with Paula Beer
“The past becomes an eerie prophecy for the present in German director Christian Petzold’s new existential thriller,” said Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly. Adapted from a 1944 novel about refugees desperate to escape Nazi-occupied Marseille, this “waking nightmare of a film” boldly sets the action in a present where the fascists don’t wear swastikas but suggest history’s potential for repeating itself. Franz Rogowski plays Georg, a concentration camp escapee who quietly assumes the identity of a dead man only to cross paths with the dead man’s wife, said Justin Chang in the Los Angeles Times. Georg also connects with a boy from North Africa as Transit “touchingly illuminates” the bonds that form within migrant communities. But don’t expect sentimentality: Characters disappear in police raids, and those who don’t are trapped in a sort of purgatory. Watching the film drain its protagonists of hope is “like watching an anti-Casablanca,” said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. Still, Rogowski holds our attention. “Haunted and hunted, he has the darkly despairing gaze of an insomniac and the wariness of a fox. In his face you can read the dilemma that any displaced person must confront: Should I run or hide?” ■