7.0/10
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Western (2017)

Unrated | | Drama | 24 August 2017 (Germany)
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German construction workers building a dam near a Bulgarian village interact with the locals, and soon the troubles arise both with the locals and among themselves.

Director:

Valeska Grisebach
16 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meinhard Neumann ... Meinhard
Reinhardt Wetrek ... Vincent
Syuleyman Alilov Letifov Syuleyman Alilov Letifov ... Adrian
Veneta Fragnova Veneta Fragnova ... Veneta
Viara Borisova Viara Borisova ... Vyara (as Vyara Borisova)
Kevin Bashev Kevin Bashev ... Wanko
Aliosman Deliev Aliosman Deliev ... Mancho
Momchil Sinanov Momchil Sinanov ... Manchos Großvater
Robert Gawellek Robert Gawellek ... Tommy
Jens Klein Jens Klein ... Jens
Waldemar Zang Waldemar Zang ... Boris
Detlef Schaich Detlef Schaich ... Helmuth
Sascha Diener Sascha Diener ... Marcel
Enrico Mantei Enrico Mantei ... Wolle
Gulzet Zyulfov Gulzet Zyulfov ... Gulzet
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Storyline

A group of German construction workers start a tough job at a remote site in the Bulgarian countryside. The foreign land awakens the men's sense of adventure, but they are also confronted with their own prejudice and mistrust due to the language barrier and cultural differences. The stage is quickly set for a showdown when men begin to compete for recognition and favor from the local villagers.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | Bulgaria | Austria

Language:

German | Bulgarian | English

Release Date:

24 August 2017 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Vestern See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,688, 18 February 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$41,072, 28 June 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Features an entire cast of non-professionals, with the majority of them having this movie as their first credit. See more »

Connections

References Fata Morgana (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Vulnerable Hero Venturing Across the Frontier Divide
22 October 2017 | by Raven-1969See all my reviews

On the frontier there is always someone who ventures beyond their companions in understanding and empathy for different cultures. A group of German construction workers in the Bulgarian countryside encounters difficulties with the locals and the foreign terrain. Tensions escalate from miscommunication, misuse of resources, corruption, selfishness, nationalism, arrogance and more. Meinhard, one of the Germans, becomes increasingly amiable with the locals. He attempts to understand their culture and ways, shares his knowledge, teaches a kid to ride a horse, helps with little tasks and drinks rakia (local liquor) late into the night with his new companions. Many among the Germans and Bulgarians do not like this. Even as Meinhard discovers solutions to difficulties and benefits to getting along, there are those in the shadows who want the divisions to remain and who believe that unless you eat, you will be eaten.

A compelling, wonderful and classical story of a vulnerable dreamer who dares to drift across the divide. The director maintained in the question and answer session after the film, that she places emphasis on what is going on inside the characters rather than any ultimate showdown. It is good that she does this, as it is truer to life. It allows the audience (me) to better identify with the characters. Non-professional actors were used in all the roles and the gamble worked, because the film felt more authentic this way. The director also maintained that she was not a micro-manager. She gave the actors space and the trust provided dividends. It makes me wonder why anyone, filmmaker or not, insists upon complete control. In advance of making the film, Grisebach lived in and learned about the area and its people, which turned out to be another good habit on her part. There were some beautiful shots of the landscape, and I wish there were more. Also, I wish there was a little more depth to the dialogue. Un Certain Regard (uncertain regard?) at Cannes. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival.


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