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Dolina (2007)

5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 87 users  
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Gabriel Ventuza lives the peaceful life of a herbalist, growing and cultivating medical herbs in Italy. One day he receives an order from his older brother who is just out of prison for one... See full summary »

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Title: Dolina (2007)

Dolina (2007) on IMDb 5.6/10

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5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Gabriel Ventuza
...
Colentina Dunka
János Bán ...
Kosztin
Ioana Abur ...
Mauzi Anies
...
Mugyil
Stefania Rivi ...
Natalia Vidra
János Derzsi ...
Vidra
Milán Vajda ...
Petrus
Mari Töröcsik ...
Senkowitz Sister 1
Coca Bloos ...
Senkowitz Sister 2
Erika Molnár ...
Aranka
Gábor Kocsó ...
Hariton
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Károly Abos ...
érsek
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Storyline

Gabriel Ventuza lives the peaceful life of a herbalist, growing and cultivating medical herbs in Italy. One day he receives an order from his older brother who is just out of prison for one day. Gabriel should go to the remote little town of Bogdanski Dolina in Far-Eastern Europe, the place of their childhood and take out the mortal remains of their father, the late people smuggler, the famous Victor Ventuza. Gabriel leaves his "eventless" life behind and goes to accomplish his mission. He is robbed on the way, his belongings, passport, money and even his clothes are stolen and finds himself in a small closed town surrounded by hills of stinking toxic waste, where strange priests rule and fear keeps people quiet, producing a general atmosphere of insecurity. The film is a surreal vision of the insecure transition times after the political system changed in Eastern Europe, showing how a harmless Western petit bourgeois changes into a cruel Eastern people smuggler without scruples. Written by Anonymous

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Drama

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Release Date:

25 October 2007 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Az érsek látogatása  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
An empty void of willfulness
16 March 2008 | by (the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids) – See all my reviews

A post-apocalyptic near future provides the setting to the Hungarian DOLINA. Bogdanski Dolina is a little Eastern-European village, surrounded by piles of reeking toxic waste. The inhabitants are being oppressed by the totalitarian regime of priests dressed in black. Gabriel Ventuza, an Italian herbalist, travels to Dolina to find and transport the remains of his deceased father (a former fugitives smuggler) back to Italy. All in all a great premise, and the fact alone that this film is set in Europe – and for once not in some Australian or American dusty wasteland – sounded more than attractive to me. A film about small-scaled, despotic oppression, not too melancholic and without explicit heroism. Carefully constructed (at least the first half of the film) and stylistic beautifully shot. This is at least one side of the coin.

The opening-scene (while credits appear) – nothing more than a visual gag, basically – is visually appealing and filmed in one continuous, fixed shot. A hit, as far as I'm concerned. The history, of the once peaceful town, told to the viewer by an off-screen voice and accompanied by wonderful images was interesting, to say the least. The introduction of protagonist Gabriel Ventuza (as well as some other side-characters) showed a lot of promise. Intrigues are built up and expectations are created. But from the moment Ventuza gets incorporated by the priests, the movie lost me in some way. It feels like director Zoltán Kamondi somehow loses track of his priorities. Gabriel Ventuza appears to be following in his father's footsteps, but does he do this out of self-interest or not? In the end, a lot of grounds and motives of several characters remain unclear. At one point, the movie also introduces a new setting: Some sort of concentration/work camp run by the priests. But I had a feeling that this location wasn't used to full benefits. Even more confusion gets created when some people desperately want to get admitted to the camp, while others want to escape it. To where it all leads in the plot, I won't reveal and I must say I'm pretty thankful to the plot's unpredictability (and in a way, also to the shifting priorities). The way various subtleties were integrated into the screenplay, I found very amusing. For example, everybody must have heard some one-liner along the lines of "There's only one way out of this place, and that's in a coffin" in some movie already. DOLINA doesn't do one-liners, but still the idea of previous line is ambiguously present in the movie, and it provides one of those more subtle 'read between the lines' moments.

However, near the end of the movie, something else goes wrong. Literally in the plot, but also with the movie itself. DOLINA misses any form of conclusion. I'm not sure whether it was a deliberate decision by director Kamondi or a result of his inability to properly tie up his story. As much as I can appreciate an open ending (that encourages the viewer to use his imagination), I'm not really in favor of a movie or a story-line that feels unfinished. And to make it just a tad bit worse, there's not only one but two severe loose ends when the movie comes to a closure. It's like DOLINA unfolds itself in its own hesitant bubble which director Kamondi does not dare to prick in order to reach a conclusion. So in the end, DOLINA also ends in its own void of emptiness (even in a visual manner, as the last shot portrays). Maybe it all is some metaphorical reference to the director's bleak vision of a possible future where mankind's only moving spirit is hope. Possible, but it makes DOLINA come across as a film with a doubting nature.


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