Athina Rachel Tsangari
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About the Movie
Part of the new wave of Greek cinema, ATTENBERG is an offbeat coming-of-age film. 23-year-old Marina is living in a small, factory town by the sea where her once-visionary architect father, has returned to die. Finding the human species foreign, she keeps her distance, choosing to observe mankind through Sir David Attenborough’s mammal documentaries and the songs of Suicide. While preparing for her father’s impending death, Marina discovers her own sexuality through lessons from her only friend, Bella, and a visiting engineer. Equal parts abstract theater and melodrama, ATTENBERG sincerely and humorously navigates the defining moments in life.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 43
- Fresh: 34
- Rotten: 9
- Average Rating: 6.9/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: "Attenberg" is a three-layered love story, anatomizing the mysterious emotions of grief, friendship and erotic attraction.
Fresh: Attenberg remains a captivating and vaguely disturbing experience throughout.
Fresh: Using occasional song-and-dance numbers with a melancholy Godardian kick, [Tsangari] creates a world that's off-center and alive with loneliness.
Rotten: Perhaps viewed under the influence of drugs or drink the film might spring to comic life, but taken straight it is far more likely to get on your nerves.
Its very dry and lacks development. Scenes of characters acting like wild animals reminded me more of actor's exorcizes than any real addition to plot. Many scenes seem overly dramatic and unbelievable. A depressing gratuitous film.
This movie was about as exciting as watching paint peel.
I like this movie for many reasons. The cinematography, the actors, the story, the feeling of natural unnaturalness (as in a nature film) in a post industrial world. The pictures on face are often bleak looking, not your typical idyllic Greek islands of travel brochures, but I find them mesmerizing, beautiful and compelling. I was sucked into the aesthetic of the film. I loved the green woolen duffle the protagonist wears, it gives her an elegance in contrast to the mud and dirt of a modern industrial mining town where she lives. So, what is the plot? A young woman named Mariana is raised by her widower architect father (and on Nature films especially those narrated by Sir David Attenborough also the meaning for the title of the film) and comes into her own as an adult, through the death and sickness of her father. Although already a grown woman in the world or her time, Mariana is like Sir David, or Jane Goodall in the forests of Africa. She is an observer of human conditions around her, yet she is unable to engage or share these feelings with her fellow humans. The exception to this is her best friend, the very sexual Bella, but even that friendship is more like Sir David befriending a local guide in the wilds, than a typical woman to woman relationship. This changes subtly with the passing of her father's health and at the end we see a woman who has accepted herself into her own environment. That may be an odd construct for a plot, but I think it says a lot about the current modern world and especially Greece with its suffering "capitalistic" economy. There is of course irony and cleverness in the more typical European film style, but this too is not expressed obviously. In the end, the film does not feel compelled to narrate or summarize a world message with tidy tropes and so this may be frustrating to many viewers, but it says much with its lean dialogue and camera shots and I find it a great film. The sound track is wonderful too and there is something similar to John Lurie's "Down by Law" in its construct, so if you like that type of film you will enjoy this one as well.