Inspired by true events, the film tells the story of the final days of World War II when German soldiers abandon a deportation train, leaving the fate of its occupants in the hands of advancing Russian troops. The film centers on the chance encounter between three women, one German, one Dutch Jew and one Russian. Amid the ruins of war, these women must overcome their differences and work together in order to survive.
The film’s director, Saskia Diesing, “links real events with the fictional characters in the film to create a feminist and deeply human story about cohesion and friendship,” Global Screen said.
Diesing previously directed “Nena,” which earned a special mention at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, where it played in the Generation 14plus section. The film also won best director at the Netherlands Film Festival. Her second feature, “Dorst,” premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2018.
“Lost Transport” stars Hanna van Vliet (“Anne+,” “Toon,” “Quicksand”), who is one of European Film Promotion’s Shooting Stars this year, Eugénie Anselin (“Bad Banks”) and Anna Bachmann (“Lost Ones”), alongside Bram Suijker and Konstantin Frolov.
Menemsha Films’ Neil Friedman said: “The film ‘Lost Transport’ is a true discovery. Filmmaker Saskia Diesing has written and directed a subtle, impactful film that viewers will surely cherish.”
Global Screen’s Julia Weber added: “This is a gripping post-war drama told from an illuminating and often neglected female perspective. ‘Lost Transport’ is an amazing story of courage and fearlessness made even more special because it is inspired by true events. It reveals what can be achieved as people from diverse backgrounds put their differences aside and work together for the benefit of everyone around them.”
The film is a co-production between KeyFilm, Amour Fou, Coin Film and NTR, with the support of the Netherlands Film Fund, the Netherlands Film Production Incentive, CoBO, Film Fund Luxembourg, Film und Medienstiftung NRW, Nordmedia, DFFF and Roba Music Publishing. It was filmed on location in Luxembourg and Germany.
Speaking to Variety, Dutch actor Van Vliet observed that most war films are shown from the point of view of men, are predominantly directed by men and portray men as either the heroes or victims of war. Putting gender aside, the challenge for a new film about war is “writing nuanced characters that transcend those archetypes,” she said. “But I also feel that in this film there is room for some kind of female energy between the characters, where they find some common ground.”
She added: “The film is about understanding life from another person’s perspective. And it is about compassion and empathy, and that’s maybe easier to believe when it is a story told with female characters because of the way society looks at masculinity.”
Although she hasn’t been in a period film before, she does see “some common ground in the roles I like to play because they are strong, nuanced, layered female characters — I still believe there is a lack of those in the film industry, at least in the Netherlands.” She appreciates working with Diesing as she sees the director as “an advocate for representation of cool women.”