Attenberg (2010, Athina Tsangari)

Marina (Ariane Labed, gymnast of Alps) listens to Suicide, loves documentarian David Attenborough, is trying to figure out her own sexuality, spends time with her sick father. She does Monty Python silly walks and practices french-kissing with her friend Bella, and eventually hooks up with a beardy foosball-playing engineer with similar music tastes (Giorgos Lanthimos, dir. of Alps and Dogtooth).

Marina and Bella:


I’m an avid, passionate admirer of all things Attenborough, I’ve been watching him since I was a little girl. He’s near and detached at the same time, like melodrama, as I call it. It really suits me as an aesthetic. He’s so gracious and has so much tenderness towards nature and his subjects. It’s a big example to me, in how to approach characters in cinema.

Completely delightful movie with great (or greatly-translated) dialogue and unusual movements. Marina talks explicitly about sex and cremation with her disillusioned architect father (“I’m boycotting the 20th century. It’s overated, and I’m not at all sorry to leave it.”) and eventually sends her slutty friend Bella to his hospital room to sleep with him. The movie starts out loony then tightens focus around his death towards the second half. NYTimes explains: “The deadpan stylization of Attenberg is a distancing device, or, more precisely, a sidelong path toward real, earned feeling.”

Marina and father:

Tsangari in Cinema Scope:

For me, it was crucial that the father-daughter relationship was one where both parties were trying to make it more equal. They were trying to negotiate the curse of the family tyranny … Our work was pure voice, pure body, pure language. I am not interested in Method acting, bringing in back story, talking about psychology. I worked with the cast as if the script was found footage and we had to re-enact it knowing nothing about its origins and its embedded meaning.

Tsangari was a producer on Dogtooth and Alps, and has a new short called The Capsule. She also appeared in Slacker and oversaw projections for the Athens Olympics. This won a couple awards at Venice, losing the big prize to Somewhere.