DVD Review: Attenberg

STUDIO: Strand Releasing | DIRECTOR: Athina Rachel Tsangari | CAST: Ariane Labed, Yorgos Lanthimos, Evangelia Randou, Vangelis Mourikis
DVD RELEASE DATE: 6/19/2012 | PRICE: DVD $27.99
BONUSES: none
SPECS: NR | 93 min. | Foreign language comedy drama | widescreen | stereo | Greek with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

 

“You’ve never seen the documentaries of Sir David Attenborough? You’re insufferably pedestrian.”

So the disenchanted Marina (Ariane Labed), the heroine of Athina Rachel Tsangari’s often blackly comedic coming-of-age film drama Attenberg (a bastardization) tells her only friend, Bella (Evangelia Randou).

Attenberg movie scene

Friends Ariane Labed (l.) Evangelia Randou get friendlier in Attenberg.

Marina lives in a small factory town on the Greek coast, caring for her dying father, watching Attenborough’s nature docs and doing synchronized dance moves with the more experienced Bella. (They also swap spit as Bella teaches her to kiss.)

Marina then meets an unnamed engineer (Yorgos Lanthimos, director of 2009’s Dogtooth, a Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee ) with whom she has her first sexual experience. In an interesting twist, she awkwardly undress in front of Lanthimos, who redresses her, then turns on music as the camera moves to metaphorical trees swaying and steam rising.

Attenberg is shot in formal, almost ritual-life compositions, with Marina at the center not fully understanding her  generally positive but conflicted emotions. It’s a style reminiscent of Lanthimos’ Dogtooth. But there the style provided a counterpoint to the savagely bizarre storyline. Here, however, it merely makes the everyday events seem more tedious.

This nuanced style undermines the film, despite an appealing central performance from wherein , some pointed dialog and offbeat touches. (Upon inspected cloth swatches for a coffin lining, Marina comments, “It can’t be synthetic, he has allergies.).

This small, occasionally on-target drama  is recommended chiefly for followers of the new Greek cinema.

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.