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Nobody could accuse Greek New Wave director Athina Tsangari of pussyfooting. Her second feature Attenberg plucks 23-year-old Marina (Ariane Labed) from a sexual seclusion devoted to watching and imitating animals in David Attenborough’s documentaries whilst tending to her terminally sick father.
Tsangari observes Marina almost as a naturalist would, charting her attempts at integration via tragicomic episodes that afford a measure of assimilation without loss of integrity. With just four main actors (and millennia of Greek culture) involved, Attenberg presents a complex yet beguilingly simple synthesis of archaic themes. Instinctive coupling and inevitable dying is what all creatures share: it’s humans that (try to) refine these procedures, and Tsangari’s take on the process must rank amongst the most original ever.
Our recommendation of this film is tempered by the fact that it will run in Greek with German subtitles. But: the use of pantomime and gesture alone deserves the effort required to watch it.
Attenberg | Directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari (Greece 2010) with Ariane Labed, Vangelis Mourikis. Starts May 10