Karen, a young woman from the Baltic countries, marries fisherman Antonio to escape from a prisoners camp. But the life in Antonio's village, Stromboli, threatened by the volcano, is a tough one and Karen cannot get used to it.
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Seeing a way to reassert control over her adult son's life when he faces manslaughter charges, an affluent Romanian woman sets out on a campaign of emotional and social manipulation to keep... See full summary »
Handke-Haneke-esque exploration of the idea of observation.
I've seen a lot of films in recent years that seem to come from the Michael Haneke School of detached, forensic, precise observation of the lives of the characters. In a few cases, this style is married with an off-beat, slightly surreal comedy, something I associate with Haneke's fellow Austrian, Peter Handke. I'm thinking of this film, and of DOGTOOTH, by Lanthimos. Both DOGTOOTH and the EXCHANGE have a wry, ironic but very original way of looking at the world. In the EXCHANGE, the lead character undergoes some kind of breakdown that is also a transformation; he can no longer look at life in a "normal" way, he begins to see unusual patterns in things, he begins to observe things differently, and to be aware of himself observing things, observing the observer; something that surely echoes with his work as a physicist, where it is now clear that the fact of observing phenomena actually changes their state. Although Kolirin doesn't seem to know where to go with this idea (the ending is good, but not exciting) this provides a fascinating, funny and weird cinema experience... thought-provoking and odd.
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