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Two young couples must share a vacation home during a hot, dry summer. Slowly but surely, they become isolated from the outside world by a mighty forest fire, delving into each other's insecurities and desires in this contemporary drama that alternates between comedy and tragedy.

The young author Leon and Felix, a young photographer, borrow a vacation home to find much-needed peace for their creative projects. On the way there, their car breaks down, the vacation home turns out to be occupied by two complete strangers, and the summer heat dulls Leon and Felix's creative senses and minds. Spontaneous Felix quickly adapts to the situation, and even a reluctant and grumpy Leon eventually learns to appreciate elements of the new situation. However, his unfinished manuscript hangs over Leon, and a visit from his publisher, along with a mighty forest fire on the horizon, threatens the idyllic setting.

Afire is an intimate contemporary drama about creativity, friendship, jealousy, and fear of not realizing one’s potential. The film adopts a naturalistic style and a laid-back pace, interspersed by vibrant, expressionistic moments. Petzold has conveyed that this is the second part of a loosely connected tetralogy inspired by the classical elements of water, fire, air, and earth. Still, the film requires no familiarity with his previous works.


Christian Petzold (b. 1960) is a German director and screenwriter. He is considered one of the leading figures in the German film movement known as the Berlin School and has garnered international acclaim since the late 90s. He has won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival twice, in 2012 for the film Barbara and in 2023 for Afire. Several of his films have been featured at TIFF, and themes like memory and identity are particularly prominent in his works.


2020 Undine
2018 Transit
2014 Phoenix
2012 Barbara
2008 Jerichow
2005 Ghosts

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Wednesday 17. january

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Friday 19. january

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