Maren Ade is often included among the members of the Berlin School, yet her works are marked by a comedic tone, and frequently a tragicomic one. This tendency is already evident in her first two features, The Forest for the Trees (2003) and Everyone Else (2009), and it becomes even more so in her third, Toni Erdmann (2016), which generated a furor among audiences and critics. Taking Sigmund Freud’s reflections on ambivalence and overdetermination as its starting point, this article examines Ade’s film as a synthetic tragicomedy in which comedy and tragedy do not alternate and follow each other as distinct tendencies—as in the “additive” tragicomedy—but together produce contradiction and uncertainty.

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