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Masculine tensions reaching boiling point in this sizzling, brilliantly observed neo-western, where migrant German construction workers are pitched against villagers in remotest Bulgaria.
Director: Valeska Grisebach
Tensions mount between German construction workers and Bulgarian villagers in a small rural town, in this contemporary western from award-winning director Valeska Grisebach. Camped above the isolated town, the workers divert the local water supply, boorishly intimidate women and exacerbate tempers by flying a German flag above their camp (flaring age-old national resentments). Lanky loner Meinhard stays aloof, preferring the company of the locals, finding a connection despite the lack of verbal communication. However, when one of the workers borrows a horse from a townsman, tempers finally begin to fray beyond repair.
Grisebach’s exquisitely taut film explores the dynamics of all-male environments; masculinity is a language, albeit a rudimentary one, that can be culturally specific and ripe for misunderstanding. With expertly observed micro-dramas amidst the gorgeously photographed countryside, Western features melancholy and menace in equal measure, providing a memorable and unique addition to the genre.