I don’t mind forcing myself to figure this out while watching, but at least give me some thread crumbs to follow. Since it was shot in English, I guess the filmmakers wanted to reach an audience besides their compatriots who could more easily spot some of the historical allusions. They would likely be just as confused, however, by the irritating and ultimately frustrating way screenwriter Andrew Shaw jumps through time regardless of where we are or who is who. For example, we suddenly learn that one of the two main characters is married, and later I assumed that another man was one of her lovers, but it turned out to be her son. who, a few scenes ago, was about eight years old. Details are so timidly distributed, if at all, that the film feels like an adaptation of the novel’s CliffsNotes.
Even the main relationship, the one that’s supposed to pull us out of the bumpy parts of the story and make us take care of ourselves, is treated so minimalist that it has no effect. Liesel (Hanna Alström) and Hana (Carice van Houten) are inseparable best friends whose friendship is the common thread of “The Affair”. At first, it is implied that the titular event is in between when Hana walks up to the crotch of the heavily pregnant Liesel. It is only later that we learn that Hana was politely rejected. Another romantic rejection scene focuses less on Hana and Liesel’s emotions and more on the pretty beads that pop out of a necklace and scatter on the floor. Hana’s unrequited love only ever gets a cursory glance, but it’s meant to keep the movie together.
In the opening scenes, Liesel and her new husband Viktor (Claes Bang) discuss plans for their dream house with the very famous architect Rainer Von Abt (Karel Roden). Liesel says she wants “simplicity, clarity, light, a house true to the times,” which sounds like the insignificant nonsense you hear in an “on camera” next to a TV show. construction of TLC Network homes. To his credit, Von Abt built Landauer House based on this description. Liesel has a child when the house is finished, and a few scenes later there are three children running around the grounds, including their nanny’s daughter, Kata (Alexandra Borbély).