In Zeiten des Abnehmenden Lichts

Germany 2017

Synopsis

In early autumn of ’89 the Powileits, an East-German family, celebrate the 90th birthday of patriarch Wilhelm who is a former resistance fighter, returned expatriate and incorrigible Stalinist. His wife Charlotte is hosting the festivities where neighbors, acquaintances and dignitaries show up, deliver flowers and give speeches as if nothing were amiss in the outside world. But someone is missing and of all people he’s the only one who in Charlotte’s opinion knows how to set up the extending table for the cold buffet; Sascha, her grandson. No one suspects that Sascha defected to the West just a few days ago…
Through the eyes of Sascha’s father Kurt – a historian, Gulag survivor, now unhappily married to the Russian Irina – we experience the “Time of Fading Light” as a snapshot of a radical personal and political change, which is denied and experienced differently by each person affected. “In Times of Fading Light” recounts the disintegration of a family and political system; a wide panorama painted on a small scale, told with laconic humor, thus allowing history to be understood through family history.

Directors Statement

Geschonneck, who grew up in the German Democratic Republic, said Kohlhaase's screenplay "offered a delicate look into East German life." The director said he thought of his own father, late East German actor Erwin Geschonneck, in the role of the main character, who is played by Bruno Ganz in the film.

Biography

Matti Geschonneck (* May 8, 1952 in Potsdam) is a German director.
The son of Actor Erwin Geschonneck (named after his role "Matti" in Mr. Puntila and his servant Matti) and half-brother of the book author Alexander Geschonneck grew up in Berlin with his mother, the actress Hannelore Wüst and his stepfather,documentarist Gerhard Scheumann , He studied for four years at the State Institute of Cinematography (WGIK) in Moscow. He was dismissed from his studies and removed as an SED member, because he had not distanced himself from Wolf Biermann's expatriation. Since 1978 he has lived in the Federal Republic.
He worked as a directing assistant with Thomas Langhoff, Eberhard Fechner and Diethard Klante. In 1991, he directed his first movie Moebius, then several episodes of the crime scene with Günter Lamprecht and worked with famous actors like Martina Gedeck, Iris Berben, Jürgen Vogel, Marianne Sägebrecht, Cornelia Froboess, Katja Riemann, Mario Adorf, Ulrich Tukur, Heino Ferch and Götz George together. In 1995, with the film Matulla and Busch after a screenplay by Ulrich Plenzdorf came to the only cooperation with his father Erwin Geschonneck, who left the film business with this comedy.
After years of exclusive television work, his second movie was released in 2009. Boxhagener Platz, after a novel by Torsten Schulz, had a world tour at the Berlinale 2010 within the series Special.

Filmography (selection):

2017 IN ZEITEN DES ABNEHMENDEN LICHTS (IN TIMES OF FADING LIGHT)
2015 EIN GROSSER AUFBRUCH · DER VERLORENE BRUDER
2014 DAS ZEUGENHAUS
2013 TOD EINER POLIZISTIN
2012 DAS ENDE DER NACHT
2011 DER VERDACHT · LIEBESJAHRE
2010 HINTER BLINDEN FENSTERN · BOXHAGENER PLATZ
2009 ENTFÜHRT
2008 ZEIT ZU LEBEN
2007 DUELL IN DER NACHT
2006 SILBERHOCHZEIT
2005 DIE NACHRICHTEN
2002 WER LIEBT, HAT RECHT
2001 SPÄTE RACHE
2000 GANZ UNTEN, GANZ OBEN · JENSEITS DER LIEBE
1998 REISE IN DIE NACHT
1997 DER SCHREI DER LIEBE
1996 ANGESCHLAGEN
1995 MATULLA UND BUSCH
1994 DIE SACHE BARYSCHNA
1993 BERLIN - BESTE LAGE
1992 MOEBIUS
1991 FRAKTUR
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Cast & Crew

Directed by : Matti Geschonneck

Written by : Wolfgang Kohlhaase

Produced by : Oliver Berben, Sarah Kirkegaard

Director of Photography : Hannes Hubach

Editor : Dirk Grau

Production Design : Bernd Lepel

Costume Design : Sabine Greunig

Hair & Make up Artist : Uta Spikermann, Elise Tillmann, Grit Kosse

Sound Design : Linus Nickl

Main Cast : Alexander Fehling (Sascha Umnitzer), Gabriela Maria Schmeide (Lisbeth), Bruno Ganz (Wilhelm Powileit), Hildegard Schmahl (Charlotte Powileit), Sylvester Groth (Kurt Umnitzer), Evgenia Dodina (Irina Umnitzer), Natalia Belitski (Melitta)

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Feature Film Selection 2017