HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Early Man
Killdozer
Den of Thieves
Cry Baby Killer, The
Ritual, The
Les Girls
Death of Stalin, The
Mission, The
Wild Life, The
Eve of Destruction
Mad Death, The
Lost in Vagueness
Sleeping Beauty
Allure
In Search of Dracula
Fantastic Woman, A
Emmanuelle II
Far from Vietnam
Inherit the Wind
Post, The
King Frat
Commuter, The
Mister Buddwing
Kiki's Delivery Service
Z-O-M-B-I-E-S
Mansfield 66/67
Old Enough
Bleeding Steel
Double Hour, The
My Generation
   
 
Newest Articles
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
   
 
  Import Export A Change Is As Bad As The RestBuy this film here.
Year: 2007
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Stars: Ekateryna Rak, Paul Hofmann, Michael Thomas, Natalja Epureanu, Brigitte Kren, Lidiya Oleksandrivna Savka, Petra Morzé, Georg Friedrich, Peter Linduska, Christina York
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Olga (Ekateryna Rak) is a nurse in Ukraine who looks after babies. She has an infant son of her own, but must leave him with her mother while she goes out to work, only she is finding the wages she makes are not sufficient to sustain the family and will have to look further afield for her income, but how far is she prepared to go, both geographically or in other, more demeaning ways? Meanwhile, Pauli (Paul Hofmann) is in Austria, training to be a security guard which involves a lot of physical punishment thanks to the overseer putting he and his fellow trainees through their paces. The trouble is, he does not find it easy to hold down a job, so with the employment market being what it is, how long before he must seek work elsewhere as well?

Import Export was a lengthy, observational effort from writer and director Ulrich Seidl, here guiding a selection of amateur performers and the occasional professional in what for many of them would be their sole film of note, or indeed at all. Hofmann in particular was reported to be a young, homeless man he was giving a break to, and late on were a selection of geriatric patients featured in a hospital who to every appearance looked to be genuine, and as confused as you would expect actual dementia sufferers to be. This contributed to the studied element of authenticity, as if this was not exactly a drama-documentary, it nevertheless generated the sense of dropping in on real people.

Seidl was also unafraid to follow them to their grimmest moments, indeed there was a strong possibility that was the reason he made this film, to rub the audience's collective nose in the harsh realities of life on or below the poverty line in Central and Eastern Europe, all the better to highlight the injustices or degradations that millions of citizens were struggling with day to day. The implication was that if you started off fairly comfortably, there would come a time when that would no longer be the case and you would have to rely on one of the less privileged to tend to your needs; then again, you could start life as a baby with whooping cough and it would be downhill from that point forward.

The camera dropped in on the existences of its two main characters, who contrary to expectations never met throughout the over two hours running time, merely switching between their parallel stories, and as we know parallel lines never cross their paths. In the process, we could observe from that oddly dispassionate distance the others who they encountered, be they employers or more random folks, each time making an oblique comment on the similarities connecting both Olga and Pauli, so the latter is humiliated in his capacity as a guard when a gang pick on him in an underground car park and strip him which loses him the job, while the former is forced to take a position as a sex worker, quite a few demeaning positions actually, as anonymous creeps bark orders at her over the internet while she performs for them to masturbate to.

That was just in the first half hour, and there were more depressing circumstances for our hero and heroine lined up. Sometimes those connections were more subtle: would many watching the prostitute Pauli's stepfather (Michael Thomas) plays with and gets to act like a dog recall that Pauli had frightened away his girlfriend with an actual pooch she wanted nothing to do with at the beginning of the movie, for example? Though in other places these aspects were more blatant, such as when Pauli dances in a club which was contrasted with Olga dancing alone in the hospital with an elderly gent she had taken a liking to. Over and over the message was clear, people deserved better than this, though Seidl stopped short of pointing fingers at those he held responsible, aside from a rich employer of Olga's who fires her for essentially getting on better with her kids than she does. There was a lot of humanity here, merely in the fact of presenting lives less focused on in mainstream cinema, and if it was not what you would call escapism, it did feel it was conducting an act of social generosity. Music by Roman Gottwald.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 495 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: