In July (2000)

 “The sky is blue wherever you go.”

It’s summertime in Hamburg, and while it’s a time for most people to go away on holiday, Daniel (Moritz Bleibtreu), a serious young teacher, is stuck at home. A bohemian young woman named Juli (Christiane Paul) has her sights set on Daniel, but Daniel spoils Juli’s plans by meeting Melek, a traveling Turkish woman (Idil Uner). When Melek leaves for Budapest the next day, Daniel impulsively decides to follow her, and he bumps into Juli as she hitchhikes out of town. Juli makes a habit of taking a hitchhiking holiday every summer, and her destination is always left to chance–she goes wherever the passing cars take her.

In July is basically an on-the-road romance. The viewer knows that Juli is attracted to Daniel, but Daniel is blissfully unaware of this. He’s so determined to meet a mystery woman under the Bosporus Bridge that he overlooks Juli entirely. As they pass through Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania on the way to Budapest, Daniel and Juli suffer a series of misadventures, and at every misfortune, Daniel becomes less straitlaced and more uninhibited.

While the film is rather predictable, it’s salvaged by completely unexpected moments of originality. The heavy use of coincidence is forgiven by the plot’s emphasis on fate. Juli’s free spirited character is nicely balanced by Daniel’s stability and occasional stodginess. Slated to be a popular foreign romance film, In July is directed by Fatih Akin–in German with English subtitles.

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Filed under German, Turkish

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