Western ★★★½

Colonialism in the age of decommodified economy. When the structures one live in and by are predicted on rootless, the desire for belonging increases. The title is a very deliberate conceptual tease, the themes, a few signifiers and some of the form, suggest a western of sorts (the group dynamic between workers made me think of this joining Comolli’s La Cecilia in the very weird group of movies by leftist Europeans who appropriate Hawks for their own means). It is major step up in ambition for Grisebach next to her fine earlier features and she backs it up with more focused dramatic chops. This is a very smart film, very aware about how from the heart of the empire ethnic and economical tensions will always be predicted on colonial heritage of exploitation and there is again something in the double sword of appropriation here of eastern European space/culture on one side and the more western fictional elements on the other, that are quite provoking. The trade is that there is also something removed from Western’s world, Michael Sicinski compared the film to Beau Travail and the comparison is very apt, but also reinforces that the world of Grisebach’s film remains more careful thought than complete inhabit, it can feel like a rootless film itself.