Dreileben 3: One Minute of Darkness

Dreileben 3: One Minute of Darkness


Reviewed by: Anne-Katrin Titze

Christoph Hochhäusler's Dreileben Part 3: One Minute Of Darkness is the most straight forward police thriller of the Dreileben trilogy.

After watching the first two Dreileben films at the New York Film Festival press screenings, my fellow critics and I were speculating: Will part three focus on the escaped mental patient? Will it shed light on unanswered questions about characters we already know? Will someone named a variation of John (Johannes in 1, Johanna in 2) play a prominent role in the plot? Yes, yes, and yes - although not as one might expect.

Copy picture

A nervous omission by the intern Johannes in the hospital of part 1, gives Frank Molesch (Stefan Kurt), a convicted sex offender, the opportunity to escape. His mother has died, and when he sees an open door in the "Dead Room" of the hospital and a convenient laundry transport, he takes advantage and eventually hides in the famous woods, where tourist groups are out and about to discover Wagner's Thuringia while listening to Rheingold or hiking to the Feuerloch Cave, a witch's cauldron, and a historical center of witch hunting.

The veteran detective Marcus Kreil (Eberhard Kirchberg), is trying to catch Molesch, and becomes more and more obsessed. He cannot even enjoy the family barbecue or respond appropriately when a gym owner suggests to rent out his studio for the police sports club as a favor. He goes to Molesch's dead mother's house to do some research. On a box of old Christmas decoration is written "For When I'm Gone" and inside are the fragments of the troubled man's early life. In the house of the dead woman time stood still, East German nostalgia looms large. While the detective is in the "Witch's house", Molesch, who has more than an initial in common with Fritz Lang's 1931 film M (in which another town was looking for another murderer), is with the deer hunters in the woods. Is there another killer?

Piece by piece the puzzle connects:

Young Molesch was given up by his parents, his foster mother kept a day-by-day book of what he did wrong. Meanwhile, the adult Molesch has encounters with tourists, who, recognising the "monster from TV", behave as if they saw a bear instead of a hungry human being, who is stealing their sandwiches. The next encounter mirrors another film from 1931, James Whale's Frankenstein, as Molesch meets a little runaway child, who sits in a tree and is hungry. He sings a song from an old commercial for cough drops to the child as they sit by a fire in the woods. Fires can regenerate, and with a few more twists, various crimes are more or less solved. A lot can happen in one minute of darkness. Don't forget to look out for another Johanna, and count the women who have fallen victim.

After seeing three films in and around the small town of Dreileben, the landscape has become familiar and inescapable, a kind of Shutter Island. Like Scorsese's psychological thriller, the light(ed)house, contains all contradictory messages at once.

Reviewed on: 26 Oct 2011
Share this with others on...
A suspenseful cat-and-mouse search between police and an escaped convict.
Amazon link

Director: Christoph Hochhäusler

Writer: Christoph Hochhäusler, Peer Klehmet

Starring: Stefan Kurt, Eberhard Kirchberg, Imogen Kogge

Year: 2011

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Germany

Search database: