Monday, 30 August 2010

Another European Gem

Catching up with more impressive European cinema, this time the Austrian film Revanche. This dates from 2007, and was made by a director new to me, Götz Spielmann. I learned that it beat Haneke's White Ribbon and Audiard's A Prophet to the Foreign Language Oscars a while back, so you can guess the quality! At several minutes under 2 hours, there isn't a shot wasted, whereas it must be said that its main rivals that year were both rather too long, and compared to Revanche both seemed almost ponderous. This highly original, shocking and yet understated thriller feels rather Bressonian (than which there's hardly higher praise) in its spare, concentrated and unrelenting way. The performances seem less like acting than existing-on-the-screen; the motivations are entirely believable; the twists-and-turns of the plot are unpredictable but inevitable. Shots are held for just as long as they need to be, and the editing is terrific. The film grips and involves from start to finish: it's provocative, moving and highly recommended. Another excellent (2010) dvd release from the now long-established distribution outfit Artificial Eye.

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