An Australian psychological thriller set in Germany, Berlin Syndrome is Cate Shortland's third feature film. In this clip Clare Havel (Teresa Palmer), an Australian backpacker and photographer travelling in Germany, has met Berlin local Andi (Max Riemelt).
The pair's chemistry is central to the film and is palpable in this scene. Teresa and Max's nuanced performances are compelling – drawing us into the action – particularly in the moment where Andi grabs Clare's throat and we see a flash of desire and a flicker of fear in her. The title's reference to Stockholm Syndrome makes sense when Andi goes on to imprison Clare in his flat after a one-night stand.
Under Shortland's direction Max's performance alternates between boyish charm, as we see here, and controlling sociopath, making it impossible to look away.
Shortland skilfully builds tension in this scene by giving us clues that something isn't right – from the claustrophobic soundscape (of creaking doors, animal cries and tunnel noises) to Bryony Marks' subtle, eerie musical score.
As with all of Shortland's films, every department works together beautifully to build a visual and sonic mood. Melinda Doring's production design deliberately situates us in a haunted and dark representation of the former East Germany.
The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema – Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as 8 AACTA Awards. Marks' score won the Film Critics' Circle of Australia award for Best Original Music.