IMDb > Attenberg (2010) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Attenberg More at IMDbPro »

Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 1 of 2:[1] [2] [Next]
Index 15 reviews in total 

22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

An intriguing, but ultimately unsatisfying study of the human condition

Author: jonrosling from United Kingdom
5 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'd heard nothing about ATTENBERG until I picked up a review booklet in the local indie cinema in my town and was intrigued by the premise. It's difficult to explain the story as such because this isn't really a story piece, but more of a study in character and relationships, and the human condition.

As a character study the film-makers perhaps deliberately draw parallels with nature documentaries which observe animal behaviour without really making any emotional connection between man and beast. The film draws attention to this - as the main character Marina, played here by Ariana Labed, watches Sir David Attenborough on TV describing his experience of coming face to face with a gorilla. He sees it as a connection with nature like no other he has experienced.

Marina herself realises that there is no emotional content in her life, no connection with those around her. Her candid questioning of her father's sexuality and the off-hand conversation about the process of cremation after his death lays bare the emotional desert that she exists in. Her cold relationship with best friend Bella, and Bella's clumsy attempts to set alight the fires of sexual yearning in Marina further show that she (Marina) is spiritually, emotionally empty.

Even her attempts - ultimately successful - to lose her virginity to the nameless engineer she drives to and from work each day in her job as a taxi driver are emotionless, cold, stark. She describes each stage of their tenderness, each aspect of love-making stripping it of any feeling, warmth, humanity.

Marina is played brilliantly by Ariana Labed, who hides behind a stillness in both her face and eyes, barely revealing anything except in the strange dances with Bella. Evangelia Randou succeeds in bringing darkness to Bella. She is unhindered by thoughts of feeling and emotion, tenderness and love and in every respect she plays the darker, animalistic side to Marina. It was easy to think for the first act that Bella was not a real character but a shadow side to Marina, satisfying the hidden fantasises Marina has, about sex and even, in a Freudian twist, about her own father.

Marina almost gets there but the death of her father, the functional process of packing him off to Germany to be cremated (cremation is legal in Greece and has been since 2006, but is still frowned upon by the Orthodox Christian church there) pulls her back into a world that is hard and cold and stark. She stands and watches his coffin packaged, x-rayed for the flight, marked with "THIS WAY UP" stickers like some Amazon or eBay parcel.

There is a moment of feeling as she chases briefly after the pick up that takes him to the plane but in the end the film pulls back from allowing the character the emotional epiphany it has been building to. She scatters his ashes into the sea, driven there by Bella, clothed in a functional visibility jacket and struggling to prise off the lid from the urn. There seems to be no feeling, except maybe disappointment that there is no deeper feeling as the waves wash him away. Marina has not opened the door to love, feeling, loss, emotion.

And it's this that I struggled with in the film. What it said to me was that humans can be really no different from animals, going through the day by day business of survival. It shows people in all their functional purpose - working, eating, dying. It doesn't hold back from showing it's characters naked, like the apes in the jungle.

There is a notion in this that we have a reservoir of compassion and love, and a whole glut of deeper emotions to give but that it remains untapped; and that we are perhaps trapped by our circumstance and surroundings and past and thus prevented from expressing our true selves.

Our characters live in a rundown industrial town, and the story itself was written against the backdrop of riots in Greece at austerity measures and economic crisis. The film-makers and writers are asking: Is this all we are? Industry? Economy? Money? Simple black and white things? Or is there something else.

But they never answer the question for Marina and her plight is left unresolved, unsatisfied.

The cinematography in the film - by Thimios Bakatakis - is beautiful, still. It is a series of tableau into which movement sometimes intrudes, the emotions stirring the mind.

But ultimately it is the failure to resolve Marina's dilemma that leaves the film missing that final piece of the jigsaw that would have made it an art-house classic.

Was the above review useful to you?

16 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Very interesting piece of work

Author: hanagomolakova from Czech Republic
11 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this film at a KVIFF screening and just had to sit down and write this bit about it. I think I've seen quite a bit of various films, but this was a real "cinema extraordinaire"… Like Dogtooth, which Tsangari co-produced, Attenberg is a clear criticism of contemporary Greece and the decay of values on a sample so precious to the Greek culture – a family.

Inspired by the BBC series studying the behavior of animals by David Attenborough, the film tries to do something similar, only the with people. Mispronunciation of the biologist's name provides the title to the film.

The plot is quite simple and easy to get. Marina, a 23 year old is only just starting to experiment with her sexuality at the background of a deserted factory, a remnant of industrial Greece of the last century. Her father, who's dying of cancer, only speaks of the procedure of having his body cremated elsewhere, as this is apparently a taboo in Greece. Marina's experimenting her first sexual experience with her best friend Bella, who has apparently had her share already. Enter "Engineer", a nameless character, who serves Marina almost like a human figurine for her first sexual experience.

Let the story begin. Hold on, but there's no story here. Tsangari is not interested in her characters and their journey of how they got being what they are or where they're going. Rather, she studies their character and she does so mercilessly.

She doesn't stop before anything including stripping her characters (and their protagonists) naked, literary. Its not just their bodies we see naked, but also all their secret thoughts and feelings, lets them express everything on the screen for the voyeur-predator sitting in the audience, serving them blood-dripping raw.

To even deepen the animal-like impression the audience gets when seeing the four lead characters, Tsangari lets them act like real animals, and uses these sequences as intermission, sort of, in her film, giving it an even more bizarre impression.

The colors are very simple as well, the general greyness interrupted only by images of the monstrous factory nearby. Camera bets everything on stills having the pattern interrupted only by a moment when Marina and Bella play tennis and tensions between them escalate.

Overall, a very interesting film more likely to shock and make your head spin rather than bore you.

Was the above review useful to you?

8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A Successful Tableau of Post Modern Greece

Author: kyanberu from United States
22 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I liked this film, but only after making the following assumptions about what director Maria Tsangari was trying to do: (I) Depict current post-Christian Greece as an emotionally dead society that had failed to develop properly as had the rest of Europe (hence the need for cremation in Germany, music from France). (II) Make Marina the symbol for Modern Greece. She is devoid of human feeling, and yet the only character who really matters. Her architect father is dying. Her engineer lover is an automaton. And I think Bella does not really exist, but is Marina's alter ego--the real human Marina would like to be (this would explain their synchronized dancing and Marina's request that Bella sleep with her father). (III) Show humans as little different from the gorillas seen on Sir David Attenborough's BBC show. The naked and semi-naked women parading around the changing room could have been a scene from an Attenborough nature documentary. When Marina and her lover were bouncing on the bed like gorillas they were making a conscious attempt to go back to their roots; to escape the emotional sterility of modern Greece.

It is a movie of beautiful, haunting tableaux. The closing scene of trucks rolling though the industrial landscape after the ashes of its architect were scattered in the nearby sea shows that life on earth goes on, regardless.

Was the above review useful to you?

9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Odd piece of melancholia

Author: eros_man_gr
1 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film has two great flaws: lack of a central plot and dispassionate characters (not performances). The protagonist of Marina is not only asexual, she is completely unemotional, even around her father and her supposed best (and only) friend. There is neither joy nor tragedy, only complete indifference to everything that happens. Occasionally you get an interesting remark about how Greece skipped modernity, but that is not really enough to make it interesting or thoughtful. Even during her sex scene, Marina keeps talking trivia non-stop during the first half, then is quiet as a mouse during the second half. I have never met or even seen people this deprived of emotion, so I cannot relate in any meaningful way to it.

In short, this is the kind of film that most people will get bored with quickly, then get told by somebody else why they are supposed to like it. Symbolism really only works when it is sufficiently obvious to all. In my opinion, this should never have been nominated for any awards, much less won them. If you know somebody that stares blankly with no emotion when he/she is with friends, having sex, and when their father dies, then maybe you can relate to this film more than I did. If you don't, well, there are much better Greek films out there.

Was the above review useful to you?

32 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

Very interesting

Author: Giedrius G ( from Lithuania
12 April 2011

Born and raised in an abandoned mill town, uniformly built around a single high-rise apartment building , Marina has fallen in love with a failed architectural experiment and forgotten all about the people who were supposed to live in it.

Built sometime in the sixties, Attenberg was never meant to harbour human warmth in the first place. Its sole purpose was to procure obedient workers for the nearby aluminum factory, offering a colorless life to go with the regulation outfit. Hardly the stuff dreams are made of. The only romance that ever blossoms amidst the white-washed walls of this ghost town is of the fleeting variety, here now and gone tomorrow, as Marina's promiscuous friend Bella would readily attest to.

The only long-standing engagement is the one between Marina's father – one of the project's leading architects – and the city. Eternally bound to his concrete mistress, he now follow s her down ward spiral , as his cancerous innards are decaying in synch with the building's ancient plumbing. No wonder his daughter never learned how to love. And the only man who could ever teach her – a handsome stranger in town for business – might have entered her life a little too late. Will Marina follow her father down the path of destruction, or will she break free of the asphalt and concrete jungle that is her home? Conjuring magic from graceless slabs of stone, Athina Rachel Tsangari turns the remains of this industrial community into her own private Stonehenge – a cross between ancient burial ground s and an enchanted monument. Or perhaps the town is just the breeding ground for an endangered species, like the ones Marina loves to watch on the wildlife channel. The only difference is these ones are plagued by post-industrial loneliness. And it appears to be fatal.

Some kinda artful, theatrically but then again verisimilar movie. A Lot Nudity. The main character got this Asexuality orientations (abstention from sexual activity) + shes got this strange shoulder condition. Movie not for everyone .

Was the above review useful to you?

8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Prolonged agony

Author: plenum from Auckland, New Zealand
23 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If there is any one character that this movie really pushes one to identify with, it must be Spyros. The dying man is there for the ride, and so are we, the ones unfortunate enough to have sat throughout this static disjointed mess. Tsangari manages to pull a sick joke on viewers by pretending that this movie is about "sex, death and life in between". This movie is a preposterously pretentious collage of thoroughly insipid scenes, fit for a post-lobotomy day-long blank staring session. I found the movie utterly unenjoyable, and its parallel to real-life documentaries revolting and absurd, seeing as how Attenborough manages to be a lot closer to his animals than this confounded director ever was to her actors. Tsangari is so adept at chasing the last traces of sincere expression out of the actors' performances that I feel like there was more humanity and life in the few shots of gorillas than there was from the entire cast of this excruciatingly dry film. The only memorable thing about this movie is how many yawns one could squeeze into 90 minutes. If you want a good (and recent) piece of Greek cinema, try Kynodontas (incidentally, Tsangari was an associate producer of that film, but hew role was probably small enough not to ruin what is a masterpiece of modern Greek cinema, unlike this unpalatable bunk).

Was the above review useful to you?

11 out of 21 people found the following review useful:


Author: doppelganger_muse from Greece
5 October 2011

Difficult. That's what cult stands for in this situation. Greece's highest creations come from a group of people where they recycle and create via a type of rotation. The producer of Dogtooth become a director, the director an actor and so on. Not bad at all. Follows the artistic aspect of Dogtooth, showing a story on adulthood and dealing with loss and what you are. An unconventional human being (with a touch of Asperger's syndrome), a loving and caring father, a slutty best friend and a partner almost like an alter ego, resembles to her father, and mirrors herself. Honest, familiar yet artsy, method-ish and pretentious from time to time. But still opens up to the viewers, where the twisted is welcome, no one judges and offers himself to the public effortlessly, honestly almost unconditionally. A new era, post modern, unlocks the contemporary social establishment.

Was the above review useful to you?

It works different of most of films

Author: louisekiev from Paris, France
2 October 2015

Attenberg is a weird movie. Greek cinema is full of this kind of film, and it don't make of any of it movies less impactive. The films may be a little hard to common audiences, but there is a certain delight in it.

Director Athina Rachel Tsangari puts her female look in a Greece at an imminent crisis, a Greece that still the mother of western culture, but more and more is excluded of the own context, weirdly. Attenberg is original, strange, brave, funny and even reflexive. The situations in the film may be presented in an unconventional way, but it's not hard to discover how universal they are.

Marina (brilliantly interpreted by Ariane Labed) may not be the typical character, but see the her world from inside may be a very interesting experiences.

Was the above review useful to you?

13 out of 27 people found the following review useful:


Author: Andy Sims (ajs709) from United Kingdom
5 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is complete and utter garbage. I found the underlying theme - that the character called Marina leads an isolated life and adopts the behavioural traits she observes on nature documentaries - tentative and completely implausible, particularly as we see on numerous occasions that she is not at all isolated. I was a huge fan of the equally quirky Dogtooth and comparisons are natural enough, but at least that film had an accessible and clear point, swimming as it was with lashings of the ludicrous and outre. But quite what the film-makers were trying to say here was completely lost to me; some interesting points are raised - the whole notion of death, the industrial history of Greece, sexual exploration and taboos - but none are properly developed. It just seems they were token efforts to give this exercise in absurdity some kind of meaning. They fail badly. Maybe i miss the point and the point is: there is no point - in which case why bother? Its not particularly entertaining, with the odd moments of black humour being far too sparse to make it worthwhile. The little dances between Marina and the other female lead were just too ridiculous to assert anything and didn't make me laugh, cry or think or feel anything. Even when the inevitable death of the father comes, little emotion is evoked, essentially because neither he or his daughter is particularly likable perhaps due to the over-the-top eccentricity they exhibit. I was quite glad when it was all over...neither as profound or challenging as i suspect was intended.

Was the above review useful to you?

5 out of 13 people found the following review useful:


Author: Zoooma from Oakland, New Jersey
17 June 2014

What in the holy hell was this garbage?!?!? This Greek film is so completely devoid of meaning it's just a ball of junk. Perhaps that's not entirely true. Within the 90 minutes there is a bit of story that could have been nicely packaged into a 15 minute short film. That means 75 minutes of NOTHING have been added in between what actually means something. I am sure the director had a vision and the symbolism would be apparent but NO, it's NOT apparent. What we're subjected to is scenes of no meaning and essentially zero emotion. None. I will say this -- it is an interesting view of Greece, quite unreminiscent of the postcard-pretty, beautifully sunny, white washed Mediterranean scenes most people have seen a thousand times. This is a bleak Greece with bleak life wrapped up in a bleak film. I watched in a state of perplexation then at the end I wanted to run outside and scream in horror at what a terrible movie this is... but it was 4 a.m. and I'd wake up my neighbors. I'd rather watch 90 minutes of just my facial expressions while watching this film. Or I'd rather set myself on fire because that would be more entertaining than this so-called movie. In 86 movies, it's actually not the worst I've seen in 2013 but it most definitely was a total waste of time.

3.5 / 10 stars

--Zoooma, a Kat Pirate Screener

Was the above review useful to you?

Page 1 of 2:[1] [2] [Next]

Add another review

Related Links

Ratings Awards External reviews
Parents Guide Official site Plot keywords
Main details Your user reviews Your vote history