thu 19/05/2022

DVD: Attenberg | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Attenberg

DVD: Attenberg

Sometimes uncomfortable portrayal of the impact of impending loss

'Attenberg': Marina (Ariane Labed, left) looks to Bella (Evangelia Randou, right) for answers

Although 2010 was undeniably a bad year for Greece, the arrival of Attenberg was a timely reminder that despite the country’s financial bankruptcy, it wasn’t culturally bankrupt. Suffused in melancholy, Attenberg nonetheless recognises that courage and facing change head on are core to the human spirit.

Attenberg DVDtheartsdesk has already remarked on Attenberg’s “peculiarity and pathos”. Two other things are central to Attenberg. At one point, Marina’s architect father remarks that the project he’s part of “might as well be constructing ruins”. That, and his and Marina’s strategy to cope with and organise for his impending death, recognise the path Greece was on. However skewed it is, the film is a commentary on Greece. Also intrinsic is Attenberg’s relationship to other recent Greek films. Director/writer Athina Rachel Tsangari (interviewed as one of this DVD’s extras; the other is the film’s trailer) was a producer of Dogtooth. Yorgos Lanthimos, Dogtooth's director, appears in Attenberg. Both also worked recently on ALPS, as did Attenberg's producer Maria Hatzakou. Awards and nominations have rolled in for all three films.

All this makes Attenberg seem worthy, a bit critic’s darlingish. It’s certainly the latter and, depending on the wind’s direction, hints of US mumblecore and the Nordic dourness of Finnish hyper-realist Aki Kaurismaki are detectable. But however Attenberg is seen, it’s terrific. Fun too. Adversity, lack of confidence, coping with impending tragedy, the search for role models are all dealt with sympathetically, with warmth. Marina’s (Ariane Labed) need for answers and experience are awkward to watch, yet charmingly captured. Interaction with her accepting father (Vangelis Mourikis), the not as worldly as she’d like to be seen Bella (Evangelia Randou) and Lanthimos's transient engineer could have been irritatingly faux naïve, but instead are disarmingly and naturally depicted. Like the David Attenborough (whose mispronounced name gives Attenberg its title) documentaries that Marina watches and draws from, Attenberg reveals that instinct doesn't always come easily in relationships.

Watch the trailer for Attenberg


Marina’s need for answers and experience are awkward to watch, yet charmingly depicted

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters