Western is set not only on the Bulgarian-Greek border, but also on the border of two foreign worlds: that of the local peasants and the German workers who are building infrastructure in this godforsaken province. In an idyllic landscape under the beating sun, a game for domination, lined with fear, is playing out. Co-produced by Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann), the film features a charismatic protagonist, a former mercenary named Meinhard (played by amateur actor Meinhard Neumann, who emanates a lecherous charm like classic Hollywood stars) who betrays his tribe: he chooses the company of despised locals, for which the others from the building project cannot forgive him. Grisebach builds tension, unravels cultural threads and emotional dependencies, portrays male rituals, and raises questions about identity. As the title would suggest, the film follows the convention of a Western, where the Bulgarians are the Indians, the Germans cowboys, the southern European landscape plays the Wild West, and the mustached Meinhard is the Lone Ranger. Only John Ford and Claire Denis have been able to film men in this way before.
Born in 1968, Valeska Grisebach is a German director and screenwriter. She studied Philosophy before moving on to Direction at the Vienna Film Academy under the tutelage of Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl. That is also where she met Barbara Albert and Jessica Hausner, with whom she shares a talent for documentary observation and sensitivity to social issues, captured in their most intimate displays. Her debut, Mein Stern, won a FIPRESCI Award at the Toronto Festival, while Longing took home prizes in Buenos Aires, Gijón, and Warsaw.
2001 Mein Stern / Be my Star
2006 Tęsknota / Sehnsucht / Longing
2007 Narben (doc.)