First post! Hello and a review of the Austrian film, “Breathing”

In my downtime, I watch a fair amount of movies on Netflix Instant. You probably do too. I am always looking for low-budget movies since many of the popular movies on the site are terrible. So I thought why not put together a blog about those movies (and, yes, the occasional TV show) that I watch! Now you know…

Movie 1!

Breathing (2011)

shit, is that a penny?

I know there’s a penny down here somewhere

The title could use some work, but this a pretty good Austrian flick, if not the most compelling thing I’ve ever seen. It’s about a 18-year-old or so named Roman (played by Thomas Schubert) living in a youth detention facility for a crime he committed when he was fourteen. The crime is very slowly revealed in bits and pieces over the course of the film — a very interesting decision by the director that at least in the beginning makes it so we’re not sure how we should feel about this guy. A product of foster homes, Roman eventually decides to try and reunite with his birth mom.

The movie’s feel is super authentic to life, which if you’ll allow me to stereotype for a minute, seems to me the trend in the European filmosphere. We observe Roman as he watches television, commutes to his new job as an undertaker’s apprentice, and goes swimming. The film has a fascination with the activity of swimming. And Roman is often seen holding his breath under water. My best psychoanalytic interpretation here is that holding his breath is a way of exercising some control over his life inside the detention center, where he is mostly at the will of the center’s staff.

if you are patient with it, Breathing will reward you with modest pleasures. If made by Hollywood, we would almost certainly meet a love interest for Roman, and predictably, our hero would try and woo her, and ultimately find companionship. Breathing doesn’t pander though; it seeks out smaller pleasures, such as when Roman finds a young American seated in his private train booth during one of his commutes from his strange job. The scene is what you’d expect from a real life encounter; the two people avoid eye contact, and pretend to ignore each other for a time. But Roman tries to steal a look at the girl’s reflection in his window. She catches him and smiles. Then something else very sweet happens. But then they don’t see each other again. I kinda couldn’t believe it because as American film watchers we’re so used to filmmakers bringing everything full circle in our movies. Point for the Austrians! ***

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