Format: Cinema

Release date: 20 April 2012

Venue: Key cities

Distributor: Verve Pictures

Director: Karl Markovics

Writer: Karl Markovics

Original title: Atmen

Cast: Thomas Schubert, Karin Lischka, Georg Friedrich

Austria 2011

94 mins

Breathing (Atmen) is the striking directing debut of Austrian actor Karl Markovics (best known for his lead performance in The Counterfeiters). The film premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section in Cannes last year, where it picked up the Europa Cinemas Label award. The story revolves around the rebellious and solitary Roman, who is trying to reintegrate society after serving time in a juvenile detention centre for murder. Soon after he picks up a job at the city mortuary, to avoid a life spent behind bars, he discovers the body of a nameless woman, whose outward appearance triggers a need to search for his mother. Though inadvertently similar in its minimalistic accuracy and disquieting sense of normality to Austrian filmmaker Markus Schleinzer’s Michael, which also premiered in Cannes and played at Karlovy Vary, Breathing is a compelling and consistently impressive first feature in its own right, which deserves to be seen widely.

Pamela Jahn

This review was originally published as part of our coverage of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2011.
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