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Western

Valeska Grisebach
Germany, Bulgaria, Austria 2017 / 119’
Longing

Western is set not only on the Bulgarian-Greek border, but also on the border of two foreign worlds: that of the local peasants and the German workers who are building infrastructure in this godforsaken province. In an idyllic landscape under the beating sun, a game for domination, lined with fear, is playing out. Co-produced by Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann), the film features a charismatic protagonist, a former mercenary named Meinhard (played by amateur actor Meinhard Neumann, who emanates a lecherous charm like classic Hollywood stars) who betrays his tribe: he chooses the company of despised locals, for which the others from the building project cannot forgive him. Grisebach builds tension, unravels cultural threads and emotional dependencies, portrays male rituals, and raises questions about identity. As the title would suggest, the film follows the convention of a Western, where the Bulgarians are the Indians, the Germans cowboys, the southern European landscape plays the Wild West, and the mustached Meinhard is the Lone Ranger. Only John Ford and Claire Denis have been able to film men in this way before.

Małgorzata Sadowska

awards

New Horizons IFF 2017 - Grand Prix, FIPRESCI Prize; Seville European Film Festival 2017 - Grand Jury Award; Mar del Plata Film Festival 2017 - Best Director

Valeska Grisebach

Born in 1968, Valeska Grisebach is a German director and screenwriter. She studied Philosophy before moving on to Direction at the Vienna Film Academy under the tutelage of Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl. That is also where she met Barbara Albert and Jessica Hausner, with whom she shares a talent for documentary observation and sensitivity to social issues, captured in their most intimate displays. Her debut, Mein Stern, won a FIPRESCI Award at the Toronto Festival, while Longing took home prizes in Buenos Aires, Gijón, and Warsaw.

Filmography

2001 Mein Stern / Be my Star

2006 Tęsknota / Sehnsucht / Longing 

2007 Narben (doc.) 

2017 Western 

Cast & Crew

director Valeska Grisebach
screenplay Valeska Grisebach
cinematography Bernhard Keller
editing Bettina Böhler
sound Uwe Haussig
cast Viara Borisova, Veneta Fragnova, Syuleyman Alilov Letifov, Meinhard Neumann, Detlef Schaich
producer Maren Ade, Jonas Dornbach, Valeska Grisebach, Janine Jackowski, Michel Merkt, Borislav Chouchkov, Viktor Chouchkov, Antonin Svoboda, Bruno Wagner
production Chouchkov Brothers, Coop99 Filmproduktion, Komplizen Film
sales Films Boutique
language German
colouration colour