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Western [2017]: ‘NYFF’ Capsule Review

Meinhard (Meinhard Neumann) who plays the protagonist in Valeska Grisebach’s slow-burning clash of male testosterone & cultural ideologies, resembles the mustached, stoic main-man in most Sergio Leone films. Riffling its title to encompass a varied number of juggling themes, genre and a sidelined border that still prevails in contemporary Europe, Grisebach’s film is a subtle, life-like documentations of a set of men (composing both sides of the language barrier) and the quotidian life that faces a cross-over when a horse, water-distribution & a young woman come into the mix.




The heightened approach of the film that makes it one of the greats is its authoritarian tone. That, like its central character, is never too eager to force conflicts into the narrative for the sake of explosive tension. On the contrary, Grisebach puts you right into the minefields of these men as you try to distinguish their respective languages & actions, whilst learning to bridge them both together in order to get a clear standpoint. Refiguring the classic western motifs into a minimalistic story about masculine tension without losing so much as an iota of realism, Valeska Grisebach’s “Western” roots itself in a kind rootlessness that can only be witnessed and not explained.  

WESTERN‘  WAS SCREENED AT THE 55th NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL
A FULL-LENGTH REVIEW WILL RUN WHEN THE FILM RELEASES WORLDWIDE IN FEBRUARY, 2018.

Director: Valeska Grisebach.
Cast: Meinhard Neumann, Reinhardt Wetrek, Syuleyman Alilov Letifov, Veneta Frangova, Vyara Borisova.
Screenplay: Valeska Grisebach.
Production companies: Komplizen Film Production, Chouchkov Brother, Coop99, KNM, ZDF, Arte.
Producers: Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski, Maren Ade Valeska Grisebach, Michel Merkt.
Director of photography: Bernhard Keller.
Production designer: Beatrice Schultz.
Costume designer: Veronika Albert.
Editor: Bettina Boehler.
Sales: Films Boutique

 

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