Ruth Beckermann’s unconventional record of a tragic love story surveys its prospects and impossibilities in the wake of World War II. Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan, two key German-language poets, exchanged letters from 1948 to 1967, and Beckermann presents this remarkable correspondence before the camera with two young, attractive actors (Anja Plaschg and Laurence Rupp) reading them at a studio in Vienna’s Funkhaus. Plaschg and Rupp expose the complexities and emotions beneath the lovers’ words through their speech and expressions, both in and out of character, as Beckermann captures them on cigarette breaks, commenting on the text, peering in on orchestral rehearsals, or listening to music on an iPhone. As much a retelling of a doomed romance as an exploration of the reverberating effects of a global tragedy, The Dreamed Ones is a minimalist tour de force, as emotionally wrenching as it is elegantly precise.

Director’s appearance made possible with the generous support from the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.