An intense, slow-burn thriller, Western follows a group of German construction workers installing a hydroelectric plant in remote rural Bulgaria. The foreign land and its breathtaking landscapes awaken the men’s macho sense of adventure, but tensions mount when Meinhard, the strong, silent type and a newcomer to the group, starts to mix with the locals. Meanwhile, his co-workers remain aloof from the villagers, maintaining an attitude of condescension.
In addition to detailing the culture clash drama, director Grisebach plays with the trappings of the Western genre: as Meinhard and the construction team’s loutish foreman Vincent jockey for the control of a white horse and for the affections of a feisty local lass, the stage is set for a showdown. The performances are so measured, authentic and psychologically acute that it is surprising to learn that the actors are all non-professionals.
Contemplative, provocative and perceptive, Western epitomizes contemporary European arthouse cinema.
Winner: Grand Prix, FIPRESCI Award, New Horizons Festival
|Running Time:||119 minutes|
|Language:||German, Bulgarian and English|
|Producers:||Valeska Grisebach, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski, Maren Ade, Michel Merkt|
|Principal Cast:||Meinhard Neumann, Reinhardt Wetrek, Syuleyman Alilov Letifov, Veneta Frangipova|