Me, Twitter: This is a perverse thing to say, but REVANCHE made me appreciate IMPORT/EXPORT that much more. I'm guessing I'm alone on this. / They admittedly have nothing in common besides one sort-of-similar character, but it threw me off for a while. Good job warping me, Seidl.
Robert Davis: @vrizov Heh, would love to see you expand on this. I wonder what Seidl is working on.
MILD SPOILERS BELOW FOR Revanche AND Import/Export, I guess. Neither is really that kind of movie though, at least in the early stages.
Import/Export was on my mind when I went into Revanche because I've already started thinking about another high-concept top 10 list. Seeing as this is the first decade I've been around long enough to do a top 10 of the decade, I also want to do an alternate 10 Most Zeitgeist-y and starting to realize I may have badly underestimated Import/Export as "just" an enormously accomplished and acidly unlikeable movie when its panoramic ambitions actually come off. Then Revanche starts with a Ukrainian hooker working abroad under unfavorable conditions, and I couldn't stop thinking about Seidl's film for half-an-hour. (At which point, she checks out, for reasons I guess I shouldn't reveal.)
Revanche was OK, but it's obviously not as magisterial as Seidl's movie (nor, to be fair, does it particularly seem to aspire to). I'm sure it's coincidence, but Seidl's unflinching portrait of the cybersex trade makes Spielmann's conception of a medium-class Viennese brothel seem like a joke, even if it's based on research. (I wouldn't know; ask my dad if you run into him in the city. Maybe I'm joking.) Red wallpaper? I got "Twin Peaks" flashbacks.
And, oddly, none of this is actually the fault of the movie, which is just fine. (If, you know, deterministic and not exactly my thing. I'm burned out on both neo-noir and rural redemption tropes, even if Spielmann spends half his time actively subverting them.) It's just that Seidl's movie has come to seem, in my mind, like the definitive pan-European film of the decade, and anything even vaguely impinging on its territory is going to suffer by comparison. I need to see that again, soon.