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"Revanche" ***1/2 (121 minutes)

Sunday May 31, 2009

Time to take in one of the nominees for this year's AA Best Foreign Language film at The Charles Sunday Cinema Club. First time Austrian director/screenwriter Goetz Spielman has crafted a fascinating tale that never telescopes its script and surprises on many levels.

"Revanche" (revenge) begins with brothel assistant ex-con Alex (Johannes Krisch, in a mesmerizing performance) about to make love to his Ukrainian prostitute girlfriend, Tamara (Irina Potapenko). Both are tired of working for their opportunistic boss-especially after the boss offers Tamara an offer he believes she can't refuse. So, instead, Alex offers her a chance to escape their dismal existence by making a score robbing a bank.

In the process, their lives intersect with a good guy local policeman (Andreas Lust) and his wife (Ursula Strauss) whose encounter with them changes all their lives in ways you never see coming.

The story moves at a deliberate but fascinating pace as it slowly reveals the complexities of the characters and their circumstances. And the minimal soundtrack is a plus for such a story-driven film. If you're patient, you'll be amply rewarded with a tense, intelligent story, that will have you thinking twice about how human beings handle adversity and grief when they least expect it.

The always interesting former AFI director and chief executive officer, writer & lyricist (co-writer of Broadway's "Ain't Misbehavin"), Murray Horwitz, led the interesting discussion and Q & A at the film's conclusion.
Writer & lyricist Murray Horowitz with
CSC moderator Jonathan Pelevsky

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