(aka 'The State I Am In')

Directed by Christian Petzold
Germany 200


A couple with a terrorist past have been living on the run for 20 years and have a 15 year old daughter, Jeanne, who has never known a normal childhood. When their money is stolen, they are forced to return secretly from Portugal to their native Germany, undertaking a journey during which Jeanne's teenage development coincides with the violent disintegration of the family cell.

Christian Petzold, one of the leading lights of the new "Berlin School" movement of young German filmmakers, has written and directed a thriller that delves into the psychology of former terrorists. Amongst its many festival and critical plaudits, THE STATE I AM IN was presented at Cannes as the FIPRESCI "Discovery of the Year!".


Along with his subsequent made-for-TV movie Something To Remind Me (Toter Mann, 2002), The State I’m In confirms Petzold* as one of the new decade’s most strikingly intelligent film-makers. An unclassifiable combination of teen romance, coming-of-age drama, and paranoid political thriller, the film revolves around 15-year-old Jeanne (Julia Hummer). Like many girls her age, she’s growing increasingly resentful of parental demands: who she should see, where she should go, how she should dress, etc. But for the parents – Hans (Richy Muller) and Clara (Barbara Auer) – Jeanne’s blossoming independence poses particularly pressing problems: the pair are renegades, permanently on the run from the police for unspecified reasons. All we know is that they were once part of some kind of underground organisation – perhaps a Baader-Meinhof type gang. When their money is stolen in Portugal, the family must return to the more hazardous surroundings of their native Germany, where Jeanne resumes her ‘holiday romance’ with surfer-kid Heinrich (Bilge Bingul). But this proves increasingly difficult as her parents sense the forces of Internal Security (the film’s German title) closing in...

Excerpt from Neil Young's Film Lounge located HERE


Theatrical Release: September 1st, 2000 - Venice Film Festival

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DVD Review: Cinema Guild - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Cinema Guild - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:46:16 
Video 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio German (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Guild

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• Full feature commentary by director Christian Petzold and Barbara Auer in German with optional English subtitles
• 38 minute filmed interview with Christian Petzold and Barbara Auer
• Original Trailer
• Stills Gallery
• Christian Petzold filmography 

DVD Release Date: July 28th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case



Firstly, after seeing Petzold's Yella (review HERE) I had a sense this would be a director's work that I would warmly embrace. This earlier effort, The State I Am In, from the same director borders on a masterpiece - it's a must-see film which I strongly encourage you to view.

Cinema Guild (known as a distributor of documentary films among other pursuits) seem to have followed in, defunct, New Yorker Video's DVD line and thankfully will keep alive the important work of Project X (Oliver Groom) who appears to be venturing from a full series on Peter Watkins to this wonderfully talented German filmmaker. Here's hoping we see an extensive collection of Petzold works from one of the better DVD producers I know.  

The dual-layered, anamorphic (in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio) image here looks to have strong colors, healthy detail - with a bit of thickness, and solid contrast. This is despite the occasional combing that I see. I can't identify it as being interlaced (the image looks too strong for that) but may be from a European source as the times line-up. But again I can't be sure - but I do know the imperfect transfer didn't affect my viewing. It's an easy presentation to get immersed in - and hopefully the screen captures below will give you a fair idea of the strength of the image quality.

Audio is entirely in original German and we are given the option of a 2.0 channel Dolby track, a 5.1 mix or the Christian Petzold and Barbara Auer commentary (also in German - with optional English subtitles). I have no complaints with the sound nor the subs and I could get both the film subs and the commentary subs to play together as we've found with some BFI DVDs. There the commentary appears on top and the film's subtitles on the bottom of the frame. This is appreciated and I've recommended the practice to Criterion - even with English language films.

Beyond the relaxed commentary, that has some viable discussion in it, we get a 38 minute filmed interview with the same two participants. They have a very good rapport and respond well occasionally challenging each other or supporting their recollections of the production and how they came together for this project. Auer does a lot of the talking here. This is also in German with optional English subtitles. After that are two galleries fading from one photo to the next - lasting a total about 7-minutes. There is also a text bio-filmography for Christian Petzold and a 1:13 trailer for the film and two other films by the same director (Yella and Jerichow - his newest which will be released in October from Cinema Guild HERE). There are also Cast and Crew listings and chapter stops labeled on the inner sleeve through the transparent case cover. 

Like other great directors it is the language of Petzold's cinema that I am drawn to and I feel an addiction growing. I want to encourage Project X to help us explore more from this filmmaker with the best available DVD (and dare I say Blu-ray) editions available. We, strongly, recommend this film. 

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Cinema Guild - Region 0 - NTSC


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