The Affair Review – Captivating, Absorbing, Mesmerizing

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The Affair, from Vertical Entertainment, presents a story that follows a young newlywed couple, full of hope and optimism, watching as they face the internal struggles, discover new passions, and are forced to flee as the Nazi’s invade.

 

The film begins at the wedding reception of Viktor, played by Claes Bang and Liesel Landauer, played by Hanna Alström, attending are their good friends Hana, played by Carice van Houten and her husband Oscar, played by Roland Møller.


 

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It is the 1930s, in Brno, Czechoslovakia. Viktor and Liesel are young, happily married, and wealthy. They commission a German Architect Rainer von Abt, played by Karel Roden, to build their dream home. It is a modernist masterpiece, full of light, open, airy.

As they build this lovely home, to complete their growing family, the also bring into the home a nanny to care for the children. Slowly we see Viktor with a camera filming his children and of course the nanny. The extramarital temptations seem beyond their control.

As Viktor’s affair begins to quiet the passion in his marriage, Liesel turns to her sensual friend Hana, who has loved her from the beginning. And while, the two shared a brief encounter during her pregnancy, Liesel has remained loyal to her husband.

During this turmoil in their home, they have been informed that the Nazi’s are advancing and the only safe place for them is to relocate to Switzerland. As both husbands, Viktor and Oscar are Jewish, the wives remain hopeful until it becomes clear they must flee.


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While they achieved physical safety, the loves, passion, and desire of the past continues to haunt them. Czechoslovakia becomes a shell of its former self, and the home, so lovingly and passionately built became, like the war, destroyed to all affected by it.

The war brings its own struggles, as everyone endeavors to survive. Food is scarce, hope is depleted and for Hana, a Czech, she can secure rations and unfortunately, she is left to entertain to subsist. For her husband, who is Jewish, life was much worse. The denigration, even in states where Jews were not transferred to Concentration Camps, held little hope in the lengthy and enduring hell.

The war finally ends and those who survived were left to pick up the pieces. For the two women, the hope of reuniting and returning to a pre-war life and possibly erasing the evil of the time between them, began with the house.


 

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With memories of home, the stairs, the light, comforting Liesel in dark times, it remained the only thread to the Hana. After the war Liesel moves to New York, and keeps her memories locked away in compartments that only she has the key. Hana’s only hope of finding Liesel centers on restoring the house to its once pristine vibrancy.

The Affair is an engaging and absorbing story.

Centered on the modernist home, which is beautifully designed, floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the city. The home takes a starring role throughout the film and becomes the holder of the darkest and most hidden secrets.

The ensemble cast bring the story to life. Layering colors, emotion, intertwining the forbidden and taboo and daring to live, they deliver vibrant, engrossing, and captivating performances.

The Affair is available on VOD March 5, 2021. See it.


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Country: Czechoslovakia.

Runtime: 104 minutes.

Language: English

Director: Julius Sevcik .

Screenplay: Simon Mawer, Andrew Shaw. 

Produced By: Rudolf Biermann, Josefina Borecka.

Cast: Hanna Alström, Carice van Houten, Claes Bang, Alexandra Borbély, Martin Hofmann, Roland Møller

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