Saturday, 7 June 2008


Director: Ulrich Seidl
Country: Austria

Import/Export follows two characters, down on their luck, as they try to get out of the rut they're stuck in. The import refers to Olga (Ekateryna Rak), a nurse in the Ukraine, who goes to Austria for a better life. Meanwhile, the export is Austrian security guard Pauli (Paul Hofmann), who goes on a business trip to the Ukraine with his father, selling candy dispensers and other such machines.

I wasn't really sure if I was going to like this film or not, and it stayed that way throughout most of the movie. Shot in old film stock, it follows the misadventures of Olga and Pauli as they try to find a better life for themselves. Some of the content is pretty confronting, from things like webcam porn and prostitution, to ill old people at a hospital and poverty in the Ukraine. I think this added to the atmosphere that the director wanted to create - that sometimes life is just like that, and there's no need to gloss over it. I watched the movie with intrigue, not really swaying me either way of approval, until the very end of the movie. For me, the ending was so powerful that it makes the movie mean something.

Import/Export is by no means a film that will appeal to everybody. Some will probably find it boring, while others will find some of the content offensive. However, because of the message the film carries and the way it is handled, it gets the thumbs up from me.

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