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Import/Export (2006)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 5

A grim and disturbing vision from Ulrich Seidl, makes for an uncomfortable and uncompromising picture of life, that is anything but comfy and pedestrian.


Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 1

A grim and disturbing vision from Ulrich Seidl, makes for an uncomfortable and uncompromising picture of life, that is anything but comfy and pedestrian.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,569

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Ulrich Seidl's despairing, relentlessly downbeat social drama Import/Export unfolds against the backdrop of contemporary Europe. Olga (Ekateryna Rak) is a single mother struggling to raise her child with a very meager income from her nursing job in a Ukrainian hospital. In desperation, she takes a job as a nude webcam model for an adult entertainment outfit that caters to German men, then quickly decides that life in her town is unbearable, and ultimately leaves her child with her

Jan 26, 2010


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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (5)

The mood is as dismal as the weather in Import/Export, by Austrian auteur Ulrich Seidl.

July 31, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ulrich Seidl's Import Export is an unflinching, at times almost unbearably hard yet moral look at human exploitation.

July 31, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Import Export demands we contemplate the horror and the beauty of existence in equal measure.

July 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Seidl's film arguably offers the toughest (and toughest to stomach) portrait of individuals tempest-tossed by the currents of the new global economy.

July 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Seidl's canny mix of professional and non-professional actors delivers a series of performances, major and minor, of genuinely heart-tugging truth and heartening humanity.

October 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Miserable but masterful.

May 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Import Export adds the welcome element of humanity to stand between the cruelty and humor.

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

There is never a moment telegraphed in the story...keeping me interested and attentive throughout its 2 hour runtime.

January 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Eastern work ethic vs. the softer West. It is clear who Seidl sides with.

January 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Technically, the sedate yet stunning 35mm camera is there for the ride and somehow never imposes or dominates the content. And the result is a true triumph.

August 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Occasionally drags, but offers a relentlessly stark glimpse into the morbid, tragic life of two lost souls who haven't found happiness or prosperity.

August 4, 2009 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

blunt and brutal

July 30, 2009 Full Review Source:

The titular backslash of Import/Export turns out to be a vast geographical schism, crossed only intermittently by thin strands of mutual emotional anguish.

July 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Sometimes a bit hard to stomach, but has such vividly realistic characters and situations that it can't be ignored.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Seidl is a special talent, reared on documentary and determined to get near the truth with a placidly baleful eye. You are at liberty to hate or admire his work - but you can scarcely ignore it.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

At times it feels like a continuation of Lukas Moodysson's Lilya 4-ever in its catalogue of injustices and humiliations, yet, against the odds, it rewards your endurance.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent

The Austrian miserablist who gave us Dog Days - sharper and more mischievous in its portrait of exurbia's human excreta - delivers an essay in symmetrical despondence that seems both tidy and empty, like a trash can after street-cleaning.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

It came highly recommended by The Sneak's sources, but it is much too bleak, way too long and contains far too many graphic and soulless sex scenes.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

Yet his unerring eye for the absurdity of human behaviour and the rituals we invent for ourselves makes this a blackly humorous treat.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Veracity and mordant humour are all well and good, but Seidl treads a very fine line between making jokes about being sick and making sick jokes.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Import Export is a work of the utmost political importance. It is also, in its rigour and fearlessness, its sorrow and pitilessness, an outstanding artistic achievement.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

There is one thing that is beyond doubt: this extraordinary film makes everything else around look comfy and pedestrian.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian

Audience Reviews for Import/Export

The story takes place in both Ukraine and Austria and focuses on 2 lives of very different people who share a similar circumstance of being at the end of the line in the place that they live in. Both seek change and their circumstances take very different shapes and fates but share a similar intention, to find a better life.
The director and writer give us little hope in their depiction of 2 lives and how their environments constantly conspire to either keep them down or challenge their will to survive and change. It is a story at once about Eastern Europe and a story about the world's 'lower classes' and their monumental struggle against inertia and their past. It is a movie filled with images, humor, highs and lows, and, graphic scenes of sexual play that all add to the base quality of the human experience that exists not only in Eastern Europe, but, many place in the world.
April 9, 2009
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Brutally vivid analysis of East/West relations today with an unsparingly honest portrayal of the bleak situations the two main protagonists find themselves in. Easier to admire and learn from than enjoy, however.
February 19, 2009
Gordon A

Super Reviewer

This Austrian film directed by Ulrich Seidl was nominated for the Palme d'Or in the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prix - Golden Apricot reward in Yerevan International Film Festival. Shot in Vienna, Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia from 2005 until May 2007, using 16mm and 35mm lenses, gives us feeling of a documentary with real dramatic style.

The movie follows Olga - Ukrainian woman from Uzhhorod, and Pauli - young man from Vienna, Austria and gives us insight in their dreams, mistakes, experiences, disappointment and love... Wonderful work of art! After 135 minutes of watching I wanted MORE!
September 9, 2013
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Import Export (DE)
  • Import Export (FR)
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