Undine is a historian who works as a museum guide in Berlin. She knows all about the Humboldt Forum, and has the knack of choosing just the right blouse and suit. She is nonchalantly beautiful, and the way she imparts her knowledge about the city that was built on a swamp is as professional as it is graceful. And yet, time and again, her gaze wanders over to the courtyard café at the Stadtmuseum to see if he is there, or is still there, or if he’s there again. Him. But Johannes is leaving, leaving her, and Undine’s world is collapsing. The magic has gone... Christian Petzold reworks the myth of the mysterious water spirit as a modern fairy-tale in a disenchanted world. His Undine defies her role as a powerless and spurned woman and falls in love anew, with Christoph, who dives into the sunken world of a reservoir. Petzold’s deeply assured work reimagines this legend by way of his own cinematic vision, in which precise everyday gestures are combined with ghostly hyperrealism. The story of a life-or-death love, splendidly and effortlessly told.
by Christian Petzold
with Paula Beer, Franz Rogowski, Maryam Zaree, Jacob Matschenz, Anne Ratte-Polle, Rafael Stachowiak, Julia Franz Richter
Germany / France 2020 German 90’ Colour World premiere


  • Paula Beer (Undine)
  • Franz Rogowski (Christoph)
  • Maryam Zaree (Monika)
  • Jacob Matschenz (Johannes)
  • Anne Ratte-Polle (Anne)
  • Rafael Stachowiak (Jochen)
  • Julia Franz Richter (Nora)


Written and Directed by Christian Petzold
Cinematography Hans Fromm
Editing Bettina Böhler
Sound Design Martin Steyer, Dominik Schleier, Benjamin Hörbe, Bettina Böhler
Sound Andreas Mücke-Niesytka
Production Design Merlin Ortner
Costumes Katharina Ost
Make-Up Scharka Cechova, Franziska Röder
Assistant Director Ires Jung
Production Manager Dorissa Berninger
Producers Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber
Executive Producer Anton Kaiser
Co-Producer Margaret Menegoz
Co-Production Les Films du Losange Paris

Christian Petzold

Born in Hilden, Germany in 1960, he has lived in Berlin since 1981. He studied German and drama at Freie Universität Berlin and then, from 1988 to 1994, film at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB). He directed his first feature film in 1995. Made in 2000, his film The State I Am In won Gold at the German Film Awards; he was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Director for Barbara in 2012. Undine marks his fifth film to be presented in the Berlinale Competition and, following Transit, his second collaboration with Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski.


1995 Pilotinnen 1996 Cuba Libre 1998 Die Beischlafdiebin 2000 Die innere Sicherheit (The State I Am In) 2001 Toter Mann (Something to Remind Me) 2002 Wolfsburg 2003 Wolfsburg 2005 Gespenster (Ghosts) 2004 Gespenster (Ghosts) 2006 Yella 2007 Yella 2008 Jerichow 2011 Dreileben – Etwas besseres als der Tod (Dreileben – Beats Being Dead) · Dreileben – Etwas Besseres als den Tod (Dreileben – Beats Being Dead) 2012 Barbara 2014 Phoenix 2018 Transit 2020 Undine 2023 Roter Himmel (Afire)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023