Ein Fisch, der auf dem Rücken schwimmt

A Fish Swimming Upside Down
A love triangle at the limits of conventional morality. Andrea, a woman without a past or any plans for the future, has just moved in with her new boyfriend Philipp and his son Martin. Father and son need to fill the gap in their lives following the death of their wife and mother, Hanna. Philipp is determined to leave the past behind; he is already removing Hanna’s last remaining images. Martin is finding it more difficult to cope with his loss and is giving both his Dad and Andrea the cold shoulder. But Andrea brings a new sense of lightness to the big, empty family home and, when she also turns her attentions to Martin, she becomes a welcome sounding board for the emotions of both men. During the course of the summer, their longing seems to find fulfilment in a love triangle in which who knows what about whom remains unspoken. Nonetheless, their expectations are raised, and while Philipp becomes more withdrawn and passive, Martin grows more possessive. Drawn into an increasingly destructive interdependence, the trio ultimately become burdened by their shared guilt. A spare, well-composed portrait of three imperfect, intensely human characters fighting the void within.
by Eliza Petkova
with Nina Schwabe, Theo Trebs, Henning Kober, Anna Manolova, Márton Nagy, Leon Ullrich
Germany 2020 German 103’ Colour World premiere


  • Nina Schwabe (Andrea)
  • Theo Trebs (Martin)
  • Henning Kober (Philipp)
  • Anna Manolova (Nadya)
  • Márton Nagy (Jens)
  • Leon Ullrich (Inspector Dreyer)


Written and Directed by Eliza Petkova
Cinematography Constanze Schmitt
Editing Eliza Petkova
Sound Hannes Marget, Emil Morgenstern
Production Design Miren Oller
Costumes Nuria Heyck, Anna Philippa Müller
Make-Up Nuria Heyck, Anna Philippa Müller
Assistant Director Willy Kristen
Producer Konstantin Kann
Line Producer Andreas Louis
Co-Producers Mathieu Miville, Nathan Nill, Eliza Petkova, Konstantin Kann, Edmond Yang
Co-Production Das Kind mit der goldenen Jacke Hamburg
REKA Pictures Berlin
Wild Grass Films Beijing

Produced by

Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin

https://www.dffb.de https://www.dffb.de

Eliza Petkova

Born in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria in 1983, she graduated in philosophy and modern Japanese studies from Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf before starting to work as a freelance filmmaker in Berlin in 2008. She took up a directing degree at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin in 2012. She has made various short fiction films and two feature films. Her short film Abwesend screened in Cannes in 2015; her feature film debut Zhaleika premiered in the 2016 Berlinale Generation section where it won a Special Mention. In 2018, she participated in Berlinale Talents.


2010 Stille Post (Chinese Whispers) 2011 Willkommen Zuhause (Welcome Home) 2013 Mein Sohn (My Son) 2014 Zur rechten Zeit (At the Right Time) 2015 Abwesend (Absent) · Nabelschnur (Umbilical Cord) 2016 Zhaleika 2018 Die Anderen (The Others) 2020 Ein Fisch, der auf dem Rücken schwimmt (A Fish Swimming Upside Down)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020