A worthy successor of Les Quatres Cents Coups,
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This review is from: Breathing [DVD] (DVD)
The lead character, Roman Kogler, in this film is portrayed wearing a deadpan face into which we learn to read his thoughts and emotions as he, at age 19, undergoes the last days before a parole board hearing. Initially he seems ungrateful and insouciant to the support, such as it is, that he gets from his probation officer who gives him advice on getting work and appearing before the board, from youth detention centre staff, who go through the tedious routines of body searches and lock-ups, and the staff of the undertakers where he is lucky o get employment, however grisly, in the few days left before his hearing. As the days go by we seem him acquiring the skills of his fellow workers, and their acceptance - if not respect - of him grows in proportion. The worker who wouldn't on his first day help him tie his tie early in the film is willing to do so later on, but wordlessly and simply by tying his own tie standing behind Kogler . Other reviews have revealed the essentials of the plot, which is a novella rather than a full-blown novel, but the essence of the film is the observation of the protagonist who is largely without dialogue, as he begins to show his humanity despite his care-nothing facade; for example he relaxes when a female traveller of much his own age travels on his train home from work - we see him smile for the first time. The ending is optimistic; we don't know what use he will make of his parole, but the fact he visits the grave of the youth he killed five years earlier (and finds it sadly neglected, and as unvisited as both probably were in their orphanage) suggests he has learned remorse. I rate this film. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 87% and I think that is about right.