Directed by Johannes Buchholz, the German language drama ‘Zugvögel’ introduces us to a complicated bunch of friends who reunite after a long time. As old secrets are revealed and the past reconciled, the tightly knit group of friends will find that life is not as easy as they had imagined it to be.


Felix Geiwagner, the writer, approaches the subject matter in a unique way, introducing the characters and letting them simmer before heavy handed drama takes the helm of the narrative. The performances, for the most part, are delightful to behold. The tragedy and suppressed emotions of the characters come out to haunt the screen naturally and the screenplay makes terrific use of the actors’ strong suits in this regard. It is clear that Buchholz and Geiwagner view friendships that last decades with a highly detailed eye and they have a lot of interesting viewpoints into the story.


Another great thing about the film is that it is not exposition heavy and the viewer is allowed to unravel the characters and their conflicts slowly. This ensures the film does not fall into cliches, providing a breath of fresh air in a genre where films often go the easy route. Props to the writer for ensuring that the script remains sharp in this regard. Another positive aspect of the film is its cinematography. The lighting really makes the story come alive and the yellow hues give the visuals a sun soaked palette that works to the story’s advantage and builds into the ideas of hope and timelessness introduced in the film. The music is so well used that instead of overwhelming one’s senses, it quietly works its charms in the background, adding richness and vigor to the drama unravelling onscreen.


A heartwarming tale of how friends are changed by the annals of time, Johannes Buchholz’s ‘Zugvögel’ does everything right and more. The characters are deep and striking, the performances are powerhouse and there is enough subtext in the entire story to think and dissect the film for hours. ‘Zugvögel’ is therefore nothing less than a masterstroke from Johannes Buchholz and cements him as a potent filmmaker who has a terrific future ahead of him.