Born and raised in an abandoned mill town, uniformly built around a single high-rise apartment building , Marina (Ariane Labed) has fallen in love with a failed architectural experiment and forgotten all about the people who were supposed to live in it.
Built sometime in the sixties, Attenberg was never meant to harbour human warmth in the first place. Its sole purpose was to procure obedient workers for the nearby aluminum factory, offering a colorless life to go with the regulation outfit. Hardly the stuff dreams are made of. The only romance that ever blossoms amidst the white-washed walls of this ghost town is of the fleeting variety, here now and gone tomorrow, as Marina’s promiscuous friend Bella (Evangelia Randou) would readily attest to.
The only long-standing engagement is the one between Marina’s father – one of the project’s leading architects – and the city. Eternally bound to his concrete mistress, he now follows her down the spiral, as his cancerous innards are decaying in synch with the building’s ancient plumbing. No wonder his daughter never learned how to love. And the only man who could ever teach her – a handsome stranger in town for business – might have entered her life a little too late. Will Marina follow her father down the path of destruction, or will she break free of the asphalt and concrete jungle that is her home?
Conjuring magic from graceless slabs of stone, Athina Rachel Tsangari turns the remains of this industrial community into her own private Stonehenge – a cross between ancient burial ground s and an enchanted monument. Or perhaps the town is just the breeding ground for an endangered species, like the ones Marina loves to watch on the wildlife channel. The only difference is these ones are plagued by post-industrial loneliness. And it appears to be fatal. –TIFF.net
Athina Rachel Tsangari was born in Greece, and studied theatre at New York University before obtaining her M.F.A. in film production at the University of Texas. She co-founded and served as artistic director of the Cinematexas International Short Film Festival before producing the film Kinetta (05), serving as associate producer on the film Dogtooth (10). Her first feature film as director was The Slow Business of Going (00). Attenberg (10) is her second feature film. –TIFF
The second oddball film in the Greek "Weird" New Wave Cinema, Attenberg is a pale succession to Yorgos Lanthimos' superior Dogtooth. With a dreary fishing town (the titular 'Attenberg') as its backdrop, Attenberg plays eccentricism and sexual perversions to the hilt. Thereby turning what could have been a pointed portrait of the banal human condition into a largely nebulous exercise in tedium-dom.
This movie is soooooo weird, and yet somehow captivating. As you watch it seems to drift away, wanting to go somewhere and then nowhere. The two women dancing, hand-in-hand on the street, throughout the movie, have such an awkward friendship going on, the same for the relationship with the dying father and the "new boyfriend". I can't say that I liked it, but I didn't hate it either.
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