In a suburb of Vienna during some hot summer days: A teacher who is in bondage to a sleazy pimp, a very importunate hitchhiker, a private detective on the run for some car vandals, a couple... See full summary »
Teresa, a fifty-year-old Austrian mother, travels to the paradise of the beaches of Kenya, seeking out love from African boys. But she must confront the hard truth that on the beaches of Kenya, love is a business.
The final installment in Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy, 'Paradise: Hope' tells the story of overweight thirteen-year-old Melanie and her first love. While her mother travels to Kenya ('... See full summary »
In conurbations where hundreds of thousands live alongside one another, in the era of a highly technological society, in which communication has never played such a significant role, man ... See full summary »
This is a film about the 'students ball' in Horn, the little Austrian town Seidl grew up. The movie portraits the young débutantes as well as the local notables, all of them eagerly involved in maintaining the stiff and stifling ritual.
Ulrich Seidls follow wealthy tourists going on safari to kill often endangered species. Some determinedly searching for trophies, others to enjoy. Even if every prey comes at a price., they... See full summary »
A working-class man named Marcos and his wife kidnap a baby for ransom money, but it goes tragically wrong when the infant dies. In another world is Ana, the daughter of the general for ... See full summary »
Jan loves Jasmin, but she has been promised to a Pakistani nephew who will shortly arrive in Norway in order to marry her. Under cover of writing a thesis on immigrant stores, Jan gets a ... See full summary »
Knut Erik Grorud,
Many film's about sad, boring lives are themselves boring (and not truly sad). Not so Ulrich Siedl's remarkable 'Import/Export', which tells a simple, and fundamentally depressing, story at great length, but with compelling naturalism. Not only that, but Siedl shows an uncanny ability to find interesting shots: the film has a haunting quality, and in every scene there's something that draws the viewer's attention and makes one think. The plot, such as it is, tells the story of two people, a Ukranian woman to emigrates to Austria in search of a better life, and an Austrian man who ends up in Ukraine; in Hollywood, their stories would inevitably be drawn together, but Siedl keeps them in parallel throughout. One link is that both are involved (at different ends) in the Ukranian sex industry, and Siedl's uncompromising depiction of this attracted some notoriety for this movie; but it's a long way from a titillating film.
The acting is excellent, and the way the characters evolve is fascinating. Ekatarina Rak's Olga is allowed to inch slowly towards a better life in Austria, albeit at a high price. Paul Hofmann's Pauli is even more interesting, a loner and misfit denied the chance by his environment to become a good person; disaffected from his present life, he can find no route map to another one. Not only do the two stories not converge, but one ends with a lengthy series of hospital scenes in which the origin of the central character is of decreasing importance; this could be a film about lonely people anywhere. Indeed, for all the film's "naturalism", it's depiction of social reality might perhaps be questioned, I would have guessed this movie was set in 1997 rather than 10 years later (although my own estimate of reality is based on the newspapers, so it may well be this that is wrong). Certainly the film is not an explicit political indictment. But it is a sympathetic and original insight into existential loneliness and the harshness of life in the modern world.
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