Saturday 7 April 2018

Western by Valeska Grisebach

Armed with an Arri Alexa and a cast of non-actors, Valeska Grisebach crafts Western as exactly the kind of film you’d expect to see in the Un Certain Regard sidebar of Cannes. Naturalistic, unaffected acting? Check. Handheld camera? Check.

Socially-relevant/political plot and thematic content? Check. The socially-relevant plot here follows a group of German men travelling to a village in Bulgaria, tasked with building a new hydro-plant. The men make no attempt to integrate into their new residence. One actually raises the German flag atop their construction site, heedless to how a Bulgarian, especially one with a sense of European history, might read such an act. The men may still be in the EU, but they clearly don’t think of this backwater as worthy of courtesy.