As with the Dardenne brothers' Lorna's Silence (Belgium), Ken Loach's It's a Free World... (UK), Cherien Dabis's Amreeka (USA), and Philippe Lioret's Welcome (France), the center of Revanche, an Austrian film by Götz Spielmann, is occupied by an immigrant. Her name is Tamara (Irina Potapenko); she is from Ukraine; she is a sex worker in a big city, Vienna. The one man who loves her, Alex (Johannes Krisch), is an ex-convict who works at her brothel. They fuck in secret motel rooms around the city; after sex, they dream about escaping the seedy, sleazy, soul-sickening underworld. When the crook and prostitute finally attempt to break free, everything goes wrong and the story takes a completely new direction. We end up in the rural areas—rivers running softly, fields of tall grass, lonely cabins, people chopping wood, birds and insects making their noises. Here we meet an average couple (a cop and his wife) going through a crisis. The wife badly wants a baby; the husband is sterile and badly wants to find spiritual (rather than sexual or reproductive) peace. The fertile ex-con enters the crisis with what he wants—revenge. The film ends in a wonderfully dark place; here ("in the night when all cows are black"), not the (moral) human but (amoral) nature has its revenge. Grand Illusion, Sept 18–24.

Support The Stranger

Sponsored
DocFest Kicks Off The Return of SIFF Cinema | Sep 30-Oct 7
A celebration of all films documentary—with in person and virtual screenings, plus filmmaker Q&As.