I3 December 2008
MPORT/ EXPORT (dir. Ulrich Seidl, 2007)
"The truth is we are dying. It’s a curious thing, a town dying. A person dying I can understand. But a whole town dying...” “What will happen if the town dies?” “What will happen? Nobody knows. They'll all just run away before that.” (Murakami, ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’, 2003)
The Colloquium for Unpopular Culture is very proud to present the first New York screening of IMPORT/ EXPORT, Austrian director Ulrich Seidl’s supremely revelatory and breathtakingly fierce panorama of modern-day Europe. Premiered to considerable acclaim at Cannes in 2007 where, according to one critic, it confirmed Seidl’s status not just as the modern-day heir of Fassbinder and Pasolini, but as the “Diane Arbus of world cinema”. It is a film of two journeys: that of Olga, a young mother from Ukraine who moves to Austria where, via stints in housekeeping and internet pornography, she ends up working at a geriatric hospital; and that of Pauli, a vicious-dog loving security guard from Austria who accompanies his stepfather on a bacchanalian trip across Eastern Europe as they try to install gumball machines in Roma slums.
Photographed by American cinematographer and long-time Herzog associate Ed Lachman (‘The Virgin Suicides’, ‘I’m Not There’), IMPORT/ EXPORT features the director’s trademark use of non-professional actors, real environments and visceral tableaux that blur the boundary between fiction and documentary and establish landscapes as visually striking and terrifying as any to be found in a horror movie.IMPORT/ EXPORT is a work of the utmost political importance. It is also, in its rigour and fearlessness, its sorrow and pitilessness, an outstanding artistic achievement.
The screening will be introduced by Fatima Naqvi, Associate Professor and Graduate Director in the Department of Germanic, Russian and East European Languages and Literatures at Rutgers University. She is the author of ‘The Literary and Cultural Rhetoric of Victimhood: Western Europe 1970-2005’ (2007) and of a forthcoming book on Michael Haneke. She has also written on Czech photographer Miroslav Tichý, Elfriede Jelinek, Anselm Kiefer and Thomas Bernhard.