DVD - 2013 | German
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Portrait of an incarcerated teenager attempting to win parole by working at a local morgue. Raised from birth in institutions, he is initially impassive and self-sabotaging in his behavior; soon, though, he begins to respect the solemn work of handling the dead, and starts to come to terms with his own youthful crime
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Manufactured and distributed by Kino Lorber, [2013]
Branch Call Number: DVD Breathing
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (93 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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Nov 30, 2016

This is all about the madness of enchantment: how to wake up, how to escape, how to live happily ever after.

Jul 02, 2015

To its credit, writer/director Karl Markovics’ multiple-award winning film about one damaged soul’s first hesitant steps towards adulthood manages to steer clear of emotional excesses. Relying instead on a slowly burning tension Markovics follows Roman through a series of small emotional epiphanies leading to a somewhat predictable final confrontation which is nevertheless handled with a delicate restraint. Unfortunately the movie’s plodding symbolism begins to drag with Roman’s cell representing more than physical isolation, a swimming pool substituting for a womb, and a sad parade of anonymous cadavers symbolizing the ultimate disconnect. Furthermore, a garish transit station billboard (trains also figure heavily) encouraging viewers to “take the plunge” is shown one too many times while a key scene goes for the irony jugular when it is played out amidst the fake domesticity of an IKEA showroom. Some striking imagery and a sombre background score do soften a few of the film’s rougher edges though, and lead actor Thomas Schubert’s reserved performance captures Roman’s dilemma perfectly.

Jan 16, 2015

Orphan Roman eventually finds himself in a juvenile detention center, when he seeks out and gets one of the most gruesome of jobs, perhaps to punish himself for being an orphan with no family and no future. He works hard at his job and slowly begins to investigate how he ended up in such a wretched situation. The story is one of forgiveness of others and forgiveness of self. And you get a few kicks in the gut as the secrets of this film unfold.

Oct 01, 2013

a young man imprisoned in mind as well as body is gradually brought to life by working with the dead.

Apr 23, 2013

Roman in juvenile detention at age 19 for a violent crime he committed when he was 14 and the other boy died. Now, again, perhaps for the third time, he is coming before the German equivalent of the parole board. But now he has a job at the morgue and the sense is that he will stay with this job. Something about this job, dressing the bodies, perhaps washing them, transporting them from one place to another -- and we get tiny glimpses that he experiences feelings. He is inarticulate and mostly silent. He and the other boys in the center swim in the pool--I don't want to make too much of that as metaphor, but Roman is such an emotionally heavy man-child so perhaps the freedom of water eases his burden of being.

He finds his mother who put him in an orphanage when he was just a baby. There is a surprise and I won't give it away.

There were so many things I liked about this movie -- I loved the fact that there was barely any music (the Dardenne brothers rarely have music and they are my directorial gods), we don't see tourist Vienna--we see trains and train stations and institutional settings. Roman is a child of institutions. Institutions is all he knows.

Thank you SPL for ordering this movie.

jpozenel Apr 22, 2013

I don't generally have the patience to sit through a foreign film with subtitles, but this one was worthwhile watching. It's really quite good.

Feb 27, 2013

A 19 year old learned kindness and gained emotional closure of his past, days before his parole hearing, while working in a Vienna, Austria mortuary.


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