Breathing 2011

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(13) IMDb 7/10
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Roman Kogler (Thomas Schubert) is 19 years old and has lived all his life in institutions. Abandoned by his mother as a young child and raised in an orphanage, he is now serving time in a juvenile detention centre having accidentally killed a boy of his own age in a brawl. A solitary boy with an uncommunicative attitude, he has no friends, family or connections to turn to in the outside world. But when threatened with a life behind bars unless he finds a job and sticks to it, he eventually finds a probation job shifting dead bodies at the municipal morgue in Vienna. When Roman is one day faced with a dead woman who bears his family name, it occurs to him that this may be the mother who gave him up for adoption and he begins to explore his past.

Starring:
Karin Lischka, Thomas Schubert
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 33 minutes
Starring Karin Lischka, Thomas Schubert, Luna Mijovic, Georg Friedrich, Klaus Rott, Georg Veitl, Stefan Matousch, Gerhard Liebmann
Director Karl Markovics
Genres Drama
Studio FUSION MEDIA
Rental release 10 September 2012
Main languages German, English
Original title Atmen
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 33 minutes
Starring Karin Lischka, Thomas Schubert, Luna Mijovic, Georg Friedrich, Klaus Rott, Georg Veitl, Stefan Matousch, Gerhard Liebmann
Director Karl Markovics
Genres Drama
Studio FUSION MEDIA
Rental release 10 September 2012
Main languages German, English
Original title Atmen

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. Martin on 18 Sep 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I fought hard not to fall in love with this movie, but I lost that battle. Words seem inadequate to describe a movie that communicates so effectively with very few words, words that only hold the story together but never carry the full weight of its power. But all I have here is words, so I must try.

Breathing is the story of Roman Kogler, a 19-year-old inmate of a juvenile detention center where he has lived since he was 14 and killed a boy who had been bullying him. Roman was given up by his overwhelmed teenage mother soon after his birth (she had almost killed him to stop his crying) and has spent his whole life in orphanages and group homes, where the bullying incident occurred.

He is almost catatonic, with no idea how to relate to other human beings. He's like a wounded wild animal held in a cage, never looking anyone in the eye and almost never speaking; I didn't count, but I'd be surprised if he said more than 50 words in the whole movie. Inside the tortured, terrified shell is a sweet and gentle boy tired of being alone but with no idea how to come out; a chance encounter with an American girl on a train is especially touching and lovely.

Thomas Schubert, the totally inexperienced actor who plays him (never even in a school play, and went to the audition only because a friend he wanted to see was going) does it all with his eyes, his face, and his body language. To say it's a powerful performance is a pitifully inadequate understatement. He is amazing.

This is a very, very great movie, the first feature written and directed by Austrian actor Karl Markovics. It is quiet and unpredictable and deeply moving, with none of the cheap emotional manipulation, gut-wrenching melodrama and gratuitous plot twists I was afraid of after a lifetime of watching American movies. Breathing is beautiful, simple, powerful and profoundly satisfying.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER on 17 Sep 2012
Format: DVD
This is one of those films that you just don't know what to expect, it is about Roman Kugler Thomas Schubert). When we meet him he is in a Youth Detention Centre awaiting a parole hearing. He has been abandoned by his mother at an early age and now has committed the crime of accidentally killing a boy some years before. He has spent his whole life in institutions and seems to lack empathy with any one as no one has ever card for him.

He is told that without a probationer job, the likelihood of being granted parole is akin to a snowballs chance in hell. But he just can't seem to hold one down. Then he happens upon a job advert working for the municipal morgue in Vienna and is amazed when they take him on. This is something you have to have a strong stomach for, and one of the many allusions to the `breathing' in the title, is when he is told to breathe through his mouth; to avoid the stench of death. There are many references to breathing some subtle, others less so.

Then he has to deal with a corpse of a woman with his own surname and he gets to thinking about the past and his own mother who started his hapless life and he starts to look for that past.

This is one of those films that has you captivated but it is hard to explain why. There is loads to see and take in, but you have to do it yourself, nothing is sign posted and that is really good as it is treating the viewer as an adult. There are some scenes of death which make it look less dignified than passing wind in front of royalty, but that is life some profanity and mild nudity, but it is all done in a realistic and tasteful way.

Director Karl Morkovics (`The Counterfeiters') has created something touching in its simplicity and believable in its out of the ordinariness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim Tigger on 9 Feb 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of those great movies that sticks with you. It is well made and on initial viewing has believable characters, good acting and a plot that works. What makes this movie so great is that it works on several levels. When I initially viewed it, I though of it as a good film. After a couple of hours, I started to realize that that the film activates a higher level of consciousness and that there are several themes that activated my subconscious. I viewed the film a couple of days ago and still can't get it out my mind. I am going to re-watch it again. Everything about the film moves it from good to full fantastic. The acting is outstanding. If you don't view this film you will be missing one of the great contemporary cinematic treats.

Jim
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg TOP 100 REVIEWER on 16 April 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Thomas Schubert gives a very good performance in this film and is certainly a pleasure to watch even if the character is also rather heartbreaking in his misfortunes. The focus on morgue work is unusual, but as the character says, someone has to do it. The comparison with Fish Tank made on the box strikes me as not being very accurate, beyond the fact that both films stick closely to a young protagonist who has an uncaring mother, and build audience empathy with them. Breathing is the stranger film, certainly, but I did find it a bit too macabre, with quite so many corpses, and also quite such coldness generally shown to Roman. It seems to be a style you find in Austrian cinema, from Haneke's films to Jessica Hausner (Lourdes) to the recent Michael (which I find execrable) - why the unremitting look at such dark subject matter through an unmoving, rather clinical lens? Breathing is, however, one of the least sterile of these films, and consequently more rewarding.
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