The latest fiction from acclaimed filmmaker Philipp Gröning (Into Great Silence) is a chilling account of a young family’s unraveling and the desperate attempts taken to protect a child’s innocence. With echoes of Bergman and Haneke, The Police Officer’s Wife explores, in intimiste strokes, the dark underside of love, desire, power and shame.

Wavelengths

The Police Officer's Wife

Philip Gröning

Though his earlier work garnered accolades and awards, Philip Gröning's mesmerizing, meditative, nearly threehour 2005 documentary Into Great Silence — an exceedingly intimate and elegant portrait of the daily life of Carthusian monks in a monastery perched high in the French Alps — confirmed his status as a visionary filmmaker. In his highly anticipated new fiction feature, Gröning is working once again in long form and in another cloistered environment, as he plunges us into the solipsistic world of a seemingly perfect German family.

A handsome young couple and their darling daughter live in a stacked, square apartment in a small town. The father is a police officer; the mother spends all her time doting on their child. Together the three laugh, spend picture-perfect Sundays in the woods, are loving and playful. Their physical and emotional intimacy seems impervious to the outside world, and yet, the purity of their bond cannot withstand the sinister effects of the father's profession.

A chilling account of a family's unravelling and the desperate attempts to protect a child's innocence, The Police Officer's Wife ventures into Bergman and Haneke territory as it explores the dark underside of love, desire, power and shame, and the loss of subjectivity. Told using an imaginatively chaptered structure that fluctuates between moments of levity and fear, bleakness and beauty, the film echoes the unpredictable rhythms of everyday life while subtly and disturbingly evoking an insidious transference of violence. With fearless and flawless performances from the actors and a clever, claustrophobic use of space, this increasingly tense tale is composed of small-scale events, mysteries and gestures that gradually cohere to form a haunting, deeply unsettling whole.

ANDRÉA PICARD

Screenings

Fri Sep 06

Scotiabank 6

Industry
2:30pm
Tue Sep 10

Jackman Hall

Regular
5:45pm
Thu Sep 12

TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Regular
10:30am
Thu Sep 12

Scotiabank 6

Industry
6:00pm
Sat Sep 14

Scotiabank 14

Regular
5:30pm