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directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari
Greece 2010

 

Marina (Ariane Labed, ALPS) lives a solitary existence with her terminally-ill architect father Spyros (Vangelis Mourikis, RUNNING ON EMPTY), who wants to be cremated even though the Greek Orthodox church forbids it. Marina's sexual development has been understandably stunted by her closeness to her father - with whom she watches the Greek-subtitled nature documentaries hosted and narrated by Sir David Attenborough (Marina's mispronunciation of his surname being the origin of the film's title) - but Spyros has also realized that his modern cynicism has left his daughter bereft of any way to meaningfully relate to other people and to cope with his absence. Marina's only friend is the predatory Bella (Evangelia Randou, KINETTA), whose more practical demonstrations of physical intimacy do little to enthuse Marina towards human contact ("it's like a slug in my mouth"). A distraction from planning her father's funeral arrangements comes in the form of an engineer (Yorgos Lanthimos, writer/director of DOGTOOTH) who she chauffeurs around town, and whom she has decided will take her virginity; but will thrusting herself into "adulthood" also allow her to cope with her father's impending death?

While not as shocking or graphic as DOGTOOTH - produced by this film's writer/director Athina Rachel Tsangari - ATTENBERG shares some thematic strands. The Greek modernity so detested by Spyros here provides the means for the family's insulated world in the former film, and its urban uniformity here is a source of comfort for Marina. Here, Greek law and tradition are the foil for the film's father figure, who only realizes too late the damage he has wrought as a failed parent. Marina tells her father that she prefers women although they do not arouse her, and her interest in the female form has more to do with curiosity over her own body than any suggestion of latent homosexuality (even when she's French-kissing or fondling Bella), and her revulsion/fascination with men does seem to stem from her difficulty imagining her father as a sexual being (and we see that a need to come to terms with that is a major hurdle to her potential growth later in the film). Bella is an underdeveloped but interesting figure here. She's Marina's "childhood" friend - their weirdness throughout the film could be likened to childish displays as much as displays of nonconformity - but we never really know just what Bella gets out of her relationship with the socially awkward Marina. The engineer is also an ambiguous figure (is his extreme patience with Marina out of concern or curiosity?) Viewers expecting continental naughtiness and more DOGTOOTH-level explicitude will be disappointed.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 9 December 2010 (Greece)

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:32:45 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.81:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.53 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Greek Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.81:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Athina Rachel Tsangari (16:9; 15:03)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:31)

DVD Release Date: January 9th, 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Artificial Eye's barely dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic check disc only features a 2.0 stereo track (and the fully animated set-up menu only allows the option to choose between watching the film with or without subtitles). The transfer suits the film's gritty-yet-antiseptic look (from the whitewashed buildings to the hospital corridors, even would-be picturesque exteriors have a muted look). The stereo track only really comes to life during musical passages, and the optional English subtitles seem to capture the wordplay well (including several bits of rhyming wordplay and translated song lyrics). Director Tsangari appears in an amusing 15 minute English-language interview (she was raised in America). She discusses the film as an exploration of the father-daughter relationships, which go back to Greek tragedies but are under-developed in cinema (outside of melodramas about incest). She is amused to reach the conclusion (with the help of the interviewer) that the film is about the coming of age of a sixty year old man. A trailer is the only other extra.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

 




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