Marina (Ariane Labed) is 23, lives with her father Spyros (Vangelis Mourikis) with whom she shares a fascination for Attenborough nature documentaries and spends most of her time with her best friend Bella (Evangelia Randou). Unfortunately, Spyros is dying and Marina has a hard time coming to terms with that, while at the same time she finally makes the first attempts to explore her sexuality, mostly with an engineer (Giorgos Lanthimos) she’s the cab driver for.
Attenberg was described as a musical without singing in the programme and I thought that sounded very nice and expected a lighthearted, up-beat little movie. Attenberg is neither of this things. Instead it’s mostly uncoordinated and pretty boring.
When I say that the movie was uncoordinated I mean that there are three parts to it, which are thrown together rather arbitrarily. The first part examines the relationship between Marina and Spyros and his approaching death and is actually quite wonderful.
The second part is the way Marina discovers her sexuality. Starting with the most awkward and funny (and, as the director herself said after the film, unsexy) kiss captured on screen, it went a little downhill from there, but was interesting.
[I know that sex and death are often portrayed as two halves of a whole, but it’s dichotomy I can’t agree with.]
And finally the third part is the silly walks by Marina and Bella. Which went on too long and didn’t fit the rest of the film, though it would have made for a nice short.
The combination of these three parts that would not come together to form a cohesive film, made the movie incredibly boring. Every time something other than the father-daughter parts were on (which truly were the heart of the film), I kept checking my watch obsessively.
I also don’t get where the whole “musical without singing” part came from. I know it’s supposed to be because of the silly walks that are cut randomly into the film, but that doesn’t fit for me. First of all, songs in musicals aren’t random interludes, they are there to support the characters’ expressions of their feelings – and I don’t think that the silly walking did that. Second of all, there is singing. Not as much as in your usual musical, but there is singing.
Summarising: Maybe if I had had other expectations… but even so, the film would have probably bored me.