Western ★★★½

The title gives away the game, which is helpful, because Grisebach's rather subtly using conventions from a classically American film genre to illuminate a contemporary conflict between a German migrant workers and the residents of a Bulgarian town. This not only means reformatting the poses, gestures and iconography of the classic western into this milieu, but also tweaking the emotional baggage that each of those brings with it to create new effects. Scenes of homosocial bonding and frontier romance are performed once again here, like a ritual, and as tensions rise between occupier and occupied we begin to feel the threat of violence, simply because film history tells us to. Visually, I wish this was more poetic, yet it's a work that almost doesn't need to operate on those terms because it's building upon hundreds of others that have before. Denis' Beau Travail is a useful point of comparison.