This is only the second of Christian Petzold's films I have seen and what remains very clear is his ability to tell a strong emotional story with nuance, subtlety and grace. Ghosts is a film about two characters longing for normalcy, looking for peace and hoping to feel whole again, or for the first time. The film is split into two intertwined narratives, one involving Nina, a teenage orphan who suffers from some mental deficiency, who lives at an orphanage of-sorts where she spends most of her time working in the nearby park. One day while working she meets Toni, a troubled teenager who seems to live a vagabond lifestyle. The two hit it off and fall in love with each other but Toni is not the type of individual who settles down. The other half of this story revolves around Francoise, a woman who has just been released from psychiatric care. Francoise is still haunted by the loss of her child who went missing at age 3. These two stories are alone for most of the film, letting the viewer grasp these two characters and understand what haunts them. Nina is a very lonely individual who seemingly bounced around from orphanage to orphanage never truly having anyone in her corner. She is searching for connection and Toni provides that to her, at least initially. On the other hand is Francoise, a character who is haunted by the tragedy of her past, never capable of coming to grasps with the loss of her child. With Ghosts Petzold has created a story with two incredibly interesting characters who both are looking for a more normal life. The film doesn't force-feed the viewer anything letting it unfold naturally and while it's powerful it never ventures into sentimental garbage or exploitation. Petzold's never gives any strong indication as to whether Nina is in fact Francoise's missing daughter, opting instead to let the audience draw their own conclusions. In my opinion, this just makes the whole experience that much stronger.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.