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Past Films

Western (In Translation Series)

  • Starring: Meinhard Neumann, Reinhardt Wetrek, Syuleyman Alilov Letifov
  • Director: Valeska Grisebach
  • Language(s): English, German, Bulgarian
  • Genre(s): Drama
  • Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 121 min.

This film is part of our In Translation series of recent foreign language films of note.

Western follows a group of German construction workers installing a hydroelectric plant in remote rural Bulgaria. The foreign land awakens the men’s sense of adventure, but tensions mount when, Meinhard, the strong, silent and newcomer to the group, starts mixing with the local villagers. The two sides speak different languages and share a troubled history. Can they learn to trust each other — or is the stage being set for a showdown?

"The story is a faultlessly observed, broodingly intelligent piece of realism, a dispatch from a sun-baked frontier that could hardly feel more mundane or specific, but which Grisebach somehow suffuses with the beauty and power of myth. "
- Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
"A culture clash defined by an incredibly strong first-time performance, it's continually more emotionally surprising than its dry packaging lets on."
- Emily Yoshida, New York Magazine/Vulture
"'Western' is as precise as a dropped pin on a GPS map, which makes its sense of mystery all the more powerful. "
- A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"There are no stagecoaches or six-shooters in this sharp, simmering drama of German-Bulgarian discord, but the spirit of John Ford graces it."
- Guy Lodge, Variety
"Grisebach has an observational grasp of the male psyche – especially its pathological obsession with pride – that fairly takes the breath away. "
- Tim Robey, The Telegraph
"Bernhard Keller’s fine photography gives this tense realist drama a streak of no-frills outdoor poetry, without overstressing its genre affinities. A strong cast, grizzled non-professionals in the great neo-realist tradition, are totally convincing. "
- Jonathan Romney, Screen International
"Grisebach has an observational grasp of the male psyche – especially its pathological obsession with pride – that fairly takes the breath away. "
- Tim Robey, The Telegraph

Showtimes