Import/Export (2006)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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

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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 mother, heading west to search for a better life. Meanwhile, in Austria, ne'er-do-well loser Pauli (Paul Hofmann) lives with his mother and his greasy-haired stepfather, Michael (Michael Thomas), to whom he's increasingly indebted. Pauli is training to be a security guard, but gets stripped, then relentlessly beaten and assaulted by a gang of youths. Eventually, Pauli and Michael hit the road together, delivering poker and gumball machines to locations across Eastern Europe, and Michael reveals a truly degenerate side, using his time on the road for a string of sexual encounters with different women. At the same time, Olga makes her way to Austria, enduring a series of occupations including those of au pair, maid, and eventually, charwoman in a geriatric hospital plagued by mistreatment of the elderly.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Michael Thomas
as Michael
Maria Hofstätter
as Sister Maria
Georg Friedrich
as Nurse Andi
Petra Morzé
as Mother in family home
Natalya Baranova
as Christina (Olga's Friend in the UK)
Natalia Epureanu
as Nataschka
Erich Finsches
as Erich Schlager
Dmytro Andriyov Gachkov
as Olga's Brother
Christina York
as Christina (Paul's girlfriend)
Brigitte Kren
as Paul's mother
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Import/Export

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (7)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 22, 2012
Variety
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 31, 2009
New York Post
Top Critic

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

July 31, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 30, 2009
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | July 21, 2009
Village Voice
Top 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.

Full Review… | October 12, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Import/Export

½

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!

Panta Oz
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

½

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

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo
½

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.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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