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This review is from: Attenberg [DVD] (DVD)Attenberg is a Greek film by Athena Tsangari,a producer on Lanthimas's Dogtooth,both shot by Bakatakis.They share a taut minimalist aesthetic and absurdist black comedy.This is a coming-of-age film of both a dying father-architect and his daughter,who both negotiate his manner of funeral, her relationship to the opposite sex and relationships. Bella,her best friend who is sexually aware,teaches her the strange rituals of tongue kissing, like two sea gulls coming together.Marianne(Ariane Labed) is a fan of David Attenborough,his documentaries on nature,where he explains how animals communicate.She later comically tries out what she learns on a random man,who she at first repels.
Unable to make real connections in the human world,she mimics with her father and Bella,grunting and beating her chest like a gorilla,or performing the native dance of birds.Nothing of her psychology or ignorance of cultural norms is explained,there is no mother figure,the better to concentrate on the central relationship between father and daughter.Intimate conversations Marina has with her dying father,Spyros, have an emotional depth about the failure of his legacy,"It looks like we're designing future ruins".The landscape is curiously unpeopled as if this is a SF scenario:we see dead streets,cold shingle beaches,empty cafes and decaying industrial machinery as bleak as in Antonioni's Red Desert.
Attenberg favours static shots and long takes,flatness and symmetry,isolating the characters as if they were performing on the stage or figures on a frieze.The soundtrack is by Suicide,with bebop and Francoise Hardy.Tsangari seems to suggest human forms of communication have broken down,Greece like an experiment that failed,built to self-destruct.Labed's performance is marvellous in its naturalism.Be open and you will be surprised.