CINE-CITY 2011 Diary 23rd November – Breathing (Atmen)
Wednesday night and we are back at Brighton’s Film Festival to take in Breathing (Atmen)
I am getting better at the run now. Gone are the leaving an hour before showtime and arriving super early. On Monday I had to sit in my car until the clock ticked past 6pm so I didn’t have to pay for an extra hour parking! I have got it down now. I leave home at 5.50pm and this gives me enough time to navigate Brighton, park, and get into Dukes ready for the film. Perfect!
Last night was the Austrian film – Breathing, here is our review…
When actors decide to try their hands behind the camera, it doesn’t always turn into a Clint Eastwood masterpiece. Quite often the film turns out decidedly average and shortsighted. But thankfully Karl Markovics, a famous and well-rounded actor, has done an excellent job with Breathing, a gripping portrait of a young offender trying to find his place in society, told in beautiful but beguiling compositions.
Roman, played by Thomas Schubert, is a 19-year-old man who has known little else than prison walls. He is serving time for murder, but is at the end of his sentence. Parole may be offered if he can hold down a job in the real world. He has tried many different vocations, but has never lasted longer than a day. With one last attempt before his hearing Roman takes on a job at an undertakers. Could this be the one that helps him find his place in society?
Strangely this confrontation with death brings Roman back to life. It seems coming face to face (and many other things) with corpses starts to peel back the layers of this young mans persona. He was brought up in an orphanage, where he committed his crime, and has been in a young offenders prison ever since.
Markovics and his story telling skills really shine through. Not only is every shot beautifully and thoughtfully framed, but the slow and gentle exposition of the main character is done with such care that it is a joy to watch. Roman is awoken from his almost zombie like detachment by a female corpse that shares his surname, this inspires the young man to hunt down his estranged parent and find out why she decided to give him up. The cast as a whole are brilliant, from the new comer Schubert – who is perfectly restrained and never confuses his isolated existence for blankness, to the bullish co-worker – full of contempt for Roman at first, but shows amazing respect and delicacy when it comes to dressing a fallen corpse.
The film is crisp and cold, with palettes of blue and grey, all shown off to beautiful effect by some excellent framing and wide-angle cinematography. Even though Roman’s life is obviously bleak it is shown with such respect and beauty we find ourselves lost in it. We find ourselves quickly immersed in Romans world, the insular closed in world he has always known and the new open one he is just starting to explore.
Told from a restrictive point of view audiences will be taken on a ride that is soft and delicate but full of emotion.
[starreview tpl=16 size='30']
Have you seen this film? Doe it look like you will enjoy it? Not a fan of Austrian Cinema? Comment below…