**1/2. This film earned awards at Stockholm and Venice in 1999. It's typically a festival movie about Austria's identity. Not bad if you want to think a little bit about immigration in Europe and disappointing if you want to see a film aiming at excellence. Almost already forgotten.
The complex, fragmentary debut film, ''Northern Skirts'' evokes the social and emotional tremors that rumble through a southern Austrian town near the Slovenian border. The movie, which examines the relationships among some young people (some of them refugees), suggests how a war can sneak across the border, even when no shots are fired, and erode an orderly society's everyday sense of its own continuity.