Critically acclaimed and highly original Greek drama ATTENBERG comes to UK cinemas on 2nd September.
Attenberg is a film so far into left field that it will make you question what exactly it is you’re watching if I’m honest. Directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari, this Greek production captures a world possibly on the brink of some kind of emotional and financial meltdown.
Greek film has long been dominated by the colossal figure of Theo Angelopoulos who’s astounding travelogue dramas took in the entire landscape of the country and more.Attenberg is the total opposite of these films as it not only located itself in one town but it’s a part of Greece you’ve never seen before. This alone points to Tsangari wanting the break with the past and possibly create a whole new expression in Greek cinema.
Attenberg follows the withdrawn Marina who finds any kind of human contact very hard to deal with at the best of time. She’s close to her terminally ill father and has a very strange friendship with Bella who seems like she could be trouble. Her interests stretch no further than the music of Suicide and the nature documentaries of David Attenborough; no doubt the weirdest place he’ll ever turn up.
Watching the film now the current financial state of Greece does come to mind very quickly as a possible motivating factor for Tsangari. The world recession has created headlines in all four corners of the globe but the scenes on the streets of Athens have been as striking as any others captured. Greece for people on the UK is a sunny paradise you visit to relax and enjoy, with wonderfully laid back people. The devastating public sector cuts imposed by the government have transformed Greece into a desperate nation that is barely holding itself together. This is possibly something you can see in Marina and her world which seems somewhat rudderless to say the least.
Political turmoil in Europe in the 1960’s led to many films then deemed controversial. Daises was banned in Czechoslovakia for a decade after its original release in 1966. The film follows two girls that simply act as they please as a growing sense of revolution swept across the world. Whilst watching Attenberg I was reminded of Daises especially during the opening scene that will surely make anyone feel somewhat uncomfortable. Attenberg captures a feeling of distance and uncertainty that perfectly embodies the modern world. People are retreating deeper into their homes to communicate and exist via technology. This self imposed distance is now coupled with an uncertain economic future that presents people with more time but very little to actually do with it.
Director Athina Rachel Tsangari has said that her aim was to observe Marina in the same style as David Attenborough observes his subjects. Attenberg does have a ‘looking in’ aspect that suggests that Tsangari has achieved her aim. The world that Attenborough usually captures is somewhat brutal to say the least and this as well may be linked. The cold confused world inhabited by Marina isn’t far removed from nature itself as things get down to the basics of survival.
Attenberg is a very hard film to recommend other than saying it’s a unique experience no matter what you’ve already seen. This may possibly be the first of a new film movement that chooses to challenge the ongoing trauma being suffered by normal people around the world today. Tsangari has said that she now intends to stay on in Greece having lived outside for over 15 years. She recently stated “This is the situation and somehow we have to fix it now, and cinema is a great way to do that. I’m not saying I’m going to make a film about the riots – I don’t want to be that literal – but Greece is an unknown country, even to its citizens, and I want to discover it for myself.” Pointing to a possible new cinema that will investigate and discover the new world constructed out of the near ruin of the one we inhabit today. Attenberg is a strange film that will elicit very different reactions from those brave enough to enter the new world of Athina Rachel Tsangari, see it if you dare.
Check out the stunning trailer below