Attenberg

"Excellent"

Attenberg Review


Elusive, dryly witty filmmaking sometimes makes watching this Greek drama a bit of a challenge, but it's so quietly revelatory and powerfully observant that we're drawn into the journey of the central character. And more adventurous filmgoers will love it.

In her early 20s, Marina (Labed) is struggling with the fact that her intellectual, caring father (Mourikis) has a terminal illness. As she spends time with him - their favourite activity is to watch and mimic David Attenborough's nature documentaries - she begins to ponder life beyond him for the first time, including issues of sex and sexuality. Meanwhile, Marina's lively friend Bella (Randou) continually challenges her to overcome her inhibitions. When she meets an engineer (Lanthimos) in a pub, her inexperience shows, but he too patiently helps her blossom.

The film opens with a scene in which Bella playfully teaches Marina how to have tongue-swapping kiss, and the ongoing interaction between these women gives the film an often absurdly comical side that intriguingly balances the more contemplative scenes between Marina and her father, although they have wacky moments as well. And then there's Marina's sweet, awkward encounters with the engineer. All of these characters are beautifully underplayed by the naturalistic actors.

Like Lanthimos' 2009 film Dogtooth, this story is exploring a character who has grown up outside the mainstream, and it's fascinating to watch her begin to open up to the possibilities of the world around her, mainly the idea of romantic companionship. One of the film's themes is how history is buried to make way for progress, as this industrial town was once a scenic seaside village. So even thought we don't know how Marina met Bella to begin with, the way their playful relationship develops is thoroughly engaging.

Writer-director Tsangari shoots this with sunny-dusty photography and a minimum of distractions. A locked-down camera captures each scene, whether it's darkly emotional, gleefully silly or evocatively surreal, sometimes all three at the same time. Strangely, this style of filmmaking also makes the entire movie feel rather dry and aloof, despite the continual sharp humour, leaving us as spectators rather than participants in Marina's story. But the most clever thing about this film is how it forces us to explore our own views of love and death.



Attenberg

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 9th December 2010

Box Office USA: $23.8k

Distributed by: Strand Releasing

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 33 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Maria Hatzakou, Giorgos Lanthimos, Iraklis Mavroidis, , Angelos Venetis

Starring: as Marina, Giorgos Lanthimos as Engineer, Vangelis Mourikis as Spyros, Evangelia Randou as Bella

Also starring:

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