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1,296 Ratings


Directed by Ulrich Seidl
Austria, Slovakia, 2007
  • German
  • English


Two stories, two reciprocal trajectories. 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.

Our take

An epic exposé of the relationship between Europe and countries to its east, Ulrich Seidl’s drama is an engrossing and provocative tale of humans, economies, and dreams. Rooted in real-world research and stunningly photographed by the great Ed Lachman, this is a global story told on a human scale.

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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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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When [Paul and his stepfather] reach the Ukraine, a grand night out at the disco ends in a three-way escalation in a hotel room that—although powerful and played brillantly—for some seems like a throwback to Dog Days. Yet in the end this scene makes perfect sense as climactic expression of Seidl’s fierce humanism in the face of a world shaped by market logic and humiliation.
May 01, 2007
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