Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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So depressing, it actually makes you feel happier about your life...
Ulrich Seidl got an eye to capture the drama of the real world, the struggle to live of the young and the old.
It's good that people as Ulrich Seidl exist so there is someone who can remind us what no one seems to realize anymore - the world of sunny careless holidays and fancy stores is not really the world we are living in. The reality as it really looks like is shown in his movies.
A bleak, uncompromising and ultimately very depressing social drama which may be hard to stomach, but even harder to turn away from.
Elocuente, con un estilo propio y perturbador.
From Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, and nominated for the Palme D'Or at Cannes in 2007, this is a dark, unsettling drama that has the tone and structure of a horror film, but it shows two parallel stories of people unsatisfied in their lives and how moving on can have polarising consequences. It's dark, quite graphic both in terms of sex and violence, but it's very compelling. It begins in Eastern Ukraine, in a slum hung over from the Soviet era, where nurse Olga (Ekateryna Rak) is unsatisfied in her life, and she doesn't get paid enough as a nurse, being diddled out of pay. So, she turns to internet porn, which is horrible. So, she packs up, and moves out to Vienna, where she gets a job as a cleaner in a hospital, where she falls for senile, geriatric patient Erich Schlager (Erich Finches). Meanwhile in Vienna, hot-headed Pauli trains to be a security guard, but is sacked when he's mugged by Turkish drunkards, penniless, and owing money to his stepfather Michael (Michael Thomas), but they get a job in delivering old videogame machines to the Ukraine, where Pauli's attempt at hiring a prostitute end up with him on his own in the snowy wilderness. It's a dark drama, but very compelling and painting a picture of a world in the Ukraine which is seldom seen on film, but it's showing a real plight many people face when they think moving to another country can hide the fact that they made a hash of things in their homeland. It's almost like a Ken Loach film, only more bleaker, and it's still uncertain by the end if things get better or worse.
Stark, brutal, and at times difficult to watch, especially the scenes of exploitation. Seidl's film portrays the grim reality of life in the poorest areas of Eastern and Western Europe. Incredibly realistic, atmospheric and brilliantly filmed throughout.
This is a very cold movie. Not only literally because it's set in the outskirts of the Ukraine with the industrial background or in Germany and Slovakie, but also figuratively because Seidl manages to make us feel down watching this. Olga clearly lives in a bad situation, even her parents don't seem to give much about her while she is living with them and supporting them even with her baby. The other story is about Paul, a young german guy who's just broke up with his girlfriend because he got a dog of which she is afraid. So he chose for the dog. His situation is also pretty bad, owing people money, no job, peculiar relationship with his stephdad, etc... Olga reaches for a last resort. She decides to do online webcam sex. Both get humiliated, personally it must be very hard. But they don't give up. It's all brought very emotionally and very visually. Seidl let's you stand still and makes you think of it for a moment. The language barriere is a tough one, surely for Olga. I think that and her identity are the main reasons she is treated like shit everywhere she tries to make a living. The nursing home for the elderly is very confronting, very sad. Death is approached here in the most determined way. While we follow Paul and his stephdad to the wastland of Slovakie for a pointless sale of an 'arcademachine' we see how desperate people are over there. Both Olga and Paul seem to find the futile joy only in music or dance or drinking. Sex seems to be one of them two but not for them. But surely for Michael, Paul's stephdad. His way of life seems one without principles. (for example; cheating on his wife by letting a young naked Ukrain girl who does't understand a word he says, bark and walk arround like a dog, making her say stupid things, before letting her 'nibble' on his pathetic cock, all while Paul is in the room asking for the bill of the hotelroom he won't give him) Paul constantly reacts against him, he does seem to have principles, he just doesn't get any chances it seems. For Michael it's easy to extort and show his 'power', being in a country where his money is worth a lot more. This is clearly shown. In this movie it's much harder to decide what's good or bad. Compared to a Hollywood movie, these people aren't heroes, aren't given any comfort, aren't given any choices. Every piece of hope get's professionally sacked. I got the feeling sometimes; 'why am i 'forced' to watch this?' That's the point I think, confronting us with these parts of humanity. Succeeded!
Rather like Eastenders, I'm not quite sure what the message is within Import / Export. It's basically a celebration of how shit other peoples' lives can be, and serves as a reminder of how comfortable our own lives are. Sure the delivery man may not come when he says, but at least you don't have to stick things up your bum for EUR 50 per hour for the sexual gratification of zee Germans.
We have two stories running simultaneously of poeple escaping their own country for a brighter future: a Ukrainian Putzfrau heading to Austria and a jobless Austrian fella heading in the other direction. And you know what? Irrespective of their efforts, their lives are bloody bleak and miserable. And at 2h15, the director REALLY labours this point home. Very miserable indeed.
Yet to it's credit Import / Export seeks to blur the distinction between narrative and documentary. For example, it looks to me that almost all the acting is performed by non-actors: the hookers, the street workers, the senile bed-ridden elderly, the whole Gypsy community.... not to mention the fight scenes and the sex scenes (they definitely weren't acting). The unrehearsed, overly long scenes add to the documentary feel. Presumably this is to shock us softies and give us some 'social realism'.
You may want to share Olga and Pauli's journies, but ultimately I'd rather stretch myself out on expensive Scandinavian furniture, cold drink in hand complaining about the price I have to pay to make people stick things up their bottoms.
A bleak movie about an existence of 2 people, one in Easter Europe, and one in Western. The depiction of post-communist Ukrainian life is spot on. The director doesn't patronize the viewer so it's entirely up to the audience to decide how to feel for the characters. The dialogue is completely improvised so it feels very natural. The movie unfortunately tends to drag at times, and also it maybe a bit difficult to follow if you don't understand either Russian or German.