Inspired by true events, Oscar-shortlisted German drama-thriller In the Fade tells the story of Hamburg local Katja, who seeks revenge on Neo-Nazis after her Turkish husband and 6‑year-old son are killed in a devastating bombing attack…
Inspired by real events (a series of attacks by the Neo-Nazi group NSU on immigrants in Germany from 2000 to 2006), In the Fade tells the story of German woman Katja (Diane Kruger), who loses both her husband and her son on the same day.
At the beginning of the film, Katja is happily married to Nuri Şekerci (Numan Acar) – a German with Turkish-Kurdish roots. Nuri has previously spent four years in prison for drug dealing. After his release, however, he got his life back on track and now runs a small travel agency and tax business in Hamburg. He and Katja also share a 6‑year-old son called Rocco.
One day, Katja drops Rocco off at Nuri's office to go to the spa with her friend. When she leaves, she sees a young blonde woman in front of the store. Katja warns this woman that she should not leave her new bicycle unlocked in front of the store because it can easily get stolen.
Scene from "In the Fade": Katja with her son and husband.
Photo by GORDON Photographie – © Warner Brothers/Gordon Timpen, SMPSP
When Katja returns in the evening, the street is blocked off and she learns that a nail bomb has gone off in front of her husband's store. Both her husband Nuri and her son Rocco were killed.
At first, Katja is overcome with grief and attempts suicide by slashing her wrists. She changes her mind, however, when she gets a message that two Neo-Nazi suspects have been arrested.
These Neo-Nazis turn out to be married couple André and Edda Möller. Edda is the woman who Katja told to lock her bike on the day of the attack. The two go on trial in Hamburg. But although there is a lot of evidence that suggests they are guilty, the pair is eventually acquitted by the court.
Scene from "In the Fade": Katja seeking revenge. Photo by GORDON Photographie – © Warner Brothers/Gordon Timpen, SMPSP
Devastated with the verdict, a grief-stricken Katja follows the pair to Greece, where they have gone into hiding. Will she manage to find them and finally get her revenge?
In the Fade Film Locations
In the Fade director Fatih Akin was born and raised in Hamburg and is very much "in love" with his North German hometown. Thus, Akin, who is the son of Turkish immigrants, has chosen Hamburg as the main setting for almost all of his films so far.
Many of the film locations for In the Fade can therefore be found in the Reeperbahn area St. Pauli (the famous "party mile" of Hamburg).
The final scenes were filmed in Greece, more precisely at Schinias beach near the Greek capital Athens.
When I was in Hamburg for the Hamburg Film Festival 2018, I took part in a Hamburg Film Locations Tour around the Reeperbahn area with Video Sightseeing Berlin.
During this tour, we passed by the Hein-Hoyer-Straße, which you will immediately recognise as the street on which the office of Katja's husband Nuri was located and to which a devastated Katja returns only to find out that a bomb has gone off here.
The Hein-Hoyer-Straße in Hamburg
I found another film location from In the Fade by chance when I was strolling around the city. On Sievekingpl. 3, you will find the Criminal Justice Building ("Landgericht Hamburg Strafjustizgebäude" in German), which at least from the outside featured as a film location for the trial of Katja vs. the two Neo-Nazi suspects.
The Criminal Justice Building in Hamburg as a film location in "In the Fade".
Photo 1: © FilmFanTravel.com, Photo 2: © Warner Brothers/Gordon Timpen, SMPSP
Following Inglourious Basterds (2009), the film was only the second all-German-language role for lead actress Diane Kruger, who is originally from a small town in Lower Saxony. She had first moved to France as a teenager for modelling. Later on, she switched to acting, starred in several Hollywood productions and became a well-known international actress.
For her intense role in In the Fade, Diane Kruger won the Best Actress award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The film also won the 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The final verdict: Diane Kruger is on fire! Plus, the topic is a very serious one, but also very important and sadly up-to-date again. A film that gets you thinking and that will surprise you with an unforeseen twist at the end…
**** 4 out of 5 stars
In the Fade is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film is in German, but has English subtitles.
Unless otherwise credited, all photos by © Sonja Irani / FilmFanTravel.com