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Chicago Theatrical Premiere
Best Film Cannes Film Fest
"Ulrich Seidl's standout Import Export...dwarved the puny [Cannes Festival] distractions that preceded" -Cinema-Scope
"A bizarre, horrifying, challenging work, often brilliant and spectacular, often troubling and indeed objectionable. It is an example of Seidl's characteristic form of grotesque realism - part Diane Arbus, part Samuel Beckett" -The Guardian
"No film-maker has gone so far out on a limb to deliver us the hard news about the new Europe and its grubby economic realities. Forget all the puffed-up indie dabblers who fancy themselves as 'guerrilla' film-makers: Ulrich Seidl, like it or not, is the real thing" -The Independent
"Cinematographer Ed Lachman’s images resonate with a bleak beauty while Seidl's canny mix of professional and non-professional actors delivers a series of performances, major and minor, of genuinely heart-tugging truth and heartening humanity" -TimeOut London
Recommended! "While [Seidl's] work, guest at over eighty film festivals worldwide, is pretty amazing on a formal level...his cold, relentless gaze makes Michael Haneke look like the well-behaved dinner guest that he is" -NewCity Chicago
"Powerful" -TimeOut Chicago
"Seidl's drab, straight-ahead long shots have a narcotic pull that keeps this absorbing throughout its 135 minutes" -Chicago Reader
A formidable portrait of modern Europe from Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, the noted documentary film-maker who made his feature debut with Dog Days. His latest film tells two stories - one that begins in the Ukraine and ends in Austria, and another that travels in the opposite direction. Olga, a young nurse, journeys to the West, looking for a better life, while unemployed Paul ends up in the East with his stepfather. Seidl presents separate stories but shared experiences as his characters discover that, despite modern Europe's promise of a better life, things really are tough all over. Each of these characters, courting great optimism, attempts to start over and begin a new life, but encounters instead a grim and difficult reality. Their separate journeys also impart much newfound wisdom about death and sexuality – plus a lesson or two about how to clean the teeth of a stuffed animal. Seidl's film is made even more searing by the potent images of its two directors of photography, Wolfgang Thaler (a close Seidl collaborator) and Ed Lachman (who's worked with Werner Herzog, Larry Clark and Todd Haynes).
Directed by Ulrich Seidl, Austria, 2007, 35mm, 135 mins. In German with English subtitles.