Johannes, a young adult, carries out his alternative national service at a large hospital on the outskirts of a small city in the middle of the Thuringian forest. Johannes has recently fallen out of a relationship with the head physician's daughter, leaving him lonely. One fateful day he meets Ana, a lively albeit direction-less individual, with the two of them becoming entangled in a love that feels destined for failure. Christian Petzold's Beats Being Dead is a love story that uses the backdrop of an escaped convict to deliver a truly unique and suspenseful tale of romance. Ana and Johannes are from incredibly different sides of the tracks. Johannes is a responsible young man working for the sole purpose of moving to Los Angeles to pursue medicine. His counterpart, Ana, has no sense of direction and before meeting Johannes, resorts to thievery as a way of survival. The two couldn't be more different but when they begin to fall for one and other, nothing else matters. The town they live in is in a state of emergency, with a massive manhunt for a violent man, and yet, the two of them seem to be oblivious to this fact. For the viewer, this works to Petzold's advantages, with Beats Being Dead being very suspenseful throughout its running time. This leads me to believe that Petzold's Beats Being Dead is a film that sets out to show the power of connection between two individuals. The characters walk long distances, routinely alone through the middle of the woods, and Petzold takes advantage of this every chance he gets. Using some voyeuristic cinematography, we are constantly reminded about the threat of this escaped man even though our two protagonists don't seem to notice. Armed with a tragically beautiful ending, Christian Petzold's Beat Being Dead is a fascinating film examining human connection and the inevitable jubilation and heartbreak which follows it.
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