Vienna, 1995. Jasmin, Tamara, Valentin, Senad and Roman live near the northern border of Austria. Their lives repeatedly intersect and drift apart. The characters involved are young ...
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Vienna, 1995. Jasmin, Tamara, Valentin, Senad and Roman live near the northern border of Austria. Their lives repeatedly intersect and drift apart. The characters involved are young migrants from the former Yugoslavia, Romania, Poland and Austria itself. Strangers in a strange land, they feel a sense of loss in their new, temporary environment. The five-some meet and get close to each other, hopelessly clinging to friendships and relationships with no future. They frequent cafés and train stations dreaming of a better tomorrow. Often, they just fall back on the prospect of short-term affection in yet another doomed romantic or sexual encounter. Trying hard to suppress the memories of war and alienation, they try to find moral strength and warmth through one another.Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
This film was almost switched off about half an hour in due to how depressing it seemed with themes of abortion, sexual abuse and generally dreary Austrian weather. However, sticking it out was worth the pay off.
The characters in Nordrand were vivid representations of a hard-working middle class, and those oppressed by a misguided upbringing. Nina Proll's Jasmin is the most dominant, yet overcome character in this piece. Her struggle to remove herself from her home situation seems to be told through universal clichés, while still maintaining an essentially Eastern European feel.
Most enjoyable to watch is Jasmin's love hate relationship with Edita Malovcic's Tamara, as the two young women discover that each other have weaknesses, and support each other in different ways.
The most confronting part of this film is the treatment of Jasmin by her father, but luckily this is mostly glossed over from a visual perspective. But the ramification of the way he treats his children infiltrates the rest of the movie, making it an intriguing dynamic to watch Jasmin's interactions with the rest of her family. Each member is well drawn. The scene on Christmas day when Jasmin's mother brings food to the place Jasmin is working devastates as Jasmin struggles to respond to the woman who has allowed her own children to be mistreated in the worst sense.
It is great to see a city like Vienna explored through the lens without the shine it's usually given to attract tourists. The streetscapes are more reminiscent of what I felt I saw when travelling Graz. But obviously behind the shiny veneer of Mozart and Klimt there is the stories of people like Jasmin and Tamara in Nordrand.
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