Confirming the delicate stillness of his 2001 drama “One Fine Day” as a prevalent element of his style, writer-director Thomas Arslan takes an equally serene look at a large family on vacation in quiet, fleetingly rewarding drama “Vacation.” Painterly images and dramatic restraint make for muted theatrical buys, but fest acclaim could propel the pic to limited arthouse action, with tube sales a more affordable destination.
Deep in the Uckermark woods north of Berlin, Anna and husband Robert (Angela Winkler, Wigand Witting) live with their teenaged son, Max (Amir Hadzic). The arrival during summer holidays of Anna’s grown daughter from a previous marriage, Laura (Karoline Eichhorn), brings with it news of discord in her marriage to Paul (Uwe Bohm). When Anna’s mother (Gudrun Ritter) is hospitalized, and Laura’s sister Sophie (Anja Schneider) arrives from overseas, a gentle roiling of secrets and pent-up resentments destabilizes the family. With an underlying dramatic unease and a title card that doesn’t appear until 21 minutes in, Arslan creates an air of tension in direct conflict with placid shots of summer tableaux. English-language title was “Holidays” on print caught at the Berlin fest.