"Admittedly, at 11 minutes, this most staggering of the three terrific new shorts [at the Locarno 2011 film festival] by uncompromising master Straub (one of them part of this year's Jeonju Digital Project)... no film this year has been so continually surprising and rich.
On repeated viewings, Straub's brilliant condensation of one of Kafka's more mysterious short stories has only become more mysterious itself, even as its point couldn't be clearer: As an acerbic look at the relationship of Western and Arab worlds this is one of the most timely films around. (It certainly would make an interesting double feature with the other competition notable: Nadav Lapid's muscular special jury prize winner Ha-shoter [Policeman].) Yet, Schakale und Araber couldn't be more timeless, making Kafka's ambiguous allegory even more complex by stripping away the "narrative" bridges and heightening the levels of transference. An invocation of the desert-set original etched into a European residence, presented with a singular sense for the essential sharpened over time—that scissors close-up!—down to the dialogues rippling with further layers of refracted meaning: "Wunderbare Tiere! Aber wie sie uns hassen!" Every inch of the screen is ablaze, and despite being prefigured in some ways be the great Corneille-Brecht ou Rome l'unique objet de mon ressentiment (2009), this is an astonishing achievement even within the refined Straubosphere, certainly making the veteran iconoclast all the more deserving of being the first person to actually win two Golden Donkeys for two different movies."
—The Ferroni Brigade, The Golden Donkey Locarno 2011
Hat-tip and gracious bow to AR/KS for the discovery.