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975 Ratings


Directed by Ulrich Seidl
Austria, Slovakia, 2007


Two individual fates move in opposite directions. Olga, a nurse from Ukraine, abandons her family to look for a better life in the West. Paul, an unemployed security guard from Vienna, is looking for a reason to get up in the mornings and heads East with his stepfather.

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Import/Export Directed by Ulrich Seidl
Mr. Seidl offers little in the way of cinematic palliatives. Yet while he’s serious, he’s also funny, with a sense of humor that skews Beckettian. (A scene in a geriatric hospital ends on a bleak if poetic note worthy of"Waiting for Godot.") He is, unlike many others, embracing the world, not in retreat.
July 30, 2009
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Ultimately, neither Olga nor Pauli are representative enough of seething demographics or fully defined as unique experiences to warrant much more than our casual pity and curiosity. But this is so much more than Seidl’s prior casts have been able to coax out of many audiences that—also considering the scathing, vocational commentary of the first hour—one can’t help but view Import/Export as a modest victory for its director.
July 27, 2009
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Import/Export’s extended Internet sex scene, with its many repetitions of the line, “Put a finger in your asshole”), Seidl is easily dismissed as a misanthrope and, perhaps even more easily, defended as a closet humanist. The reality, as usual, lies somewhere in between. Seidl may best be described as a Darwinian observer, who looks at humanity the way an alien species might, honing in on our elemental urges and desires, fascinated by our awkward, fitful efforts to forge meaningful connections.
July 22, 2009
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