News  ·  09 | 08 | 2019

Meinhard Will Go On

Premio Raimondo Rezzonigo - Western

The title makes its double meaning explicit right from the start: on the one hand, it is a modern, European stab at the most recognizable of American film genres, with scorching hot landscapes, horses and occasionally flexible interpretations of the law in an unexpected setting; on the other, it is about a culture clash, as the western mentality of Germany struggles to interact with that of Bulgaria, formerly part of the Eastern Bloc as an ally of the Soviet Union. Such is the experience of Meinhard (Meinhard Neumann, making an impressive acting debut), the main character in Western: he’s part of a construction crew building a hydroelectric plant in a remote Bulgarian village, a task made increasingly difficult by the language barrier and a lack of resources; mainly the water itself. Valeska Grisebach’s third feature, produced by Komplizen Film, is a subtly powerful character study, where silence plays a major role in shaping the relationships between the modern-day settlers and the indigenous people, complete with occasional bouts of lawlessness and a hint of a darling Clementine. There is a cultural specificity that paints a very contemporary picture, while simultaneously achieving the mythical timelessness of most genre greats. The said myth is still very real, though, thanks to the inspired choice of casting mostly non-professionals in the key roles, and that reality seamlessly leads into iconic cinema.