Acclaimed Austrian master of discomfort Ulrich Seidl returns with his first narrative feature in nine years: an irresistible study of a sleazy songster.
In the gloomy winter off-season in the Italian seaside resort town of Rimini, ageing crooner Richie Bravo (fearlessly played by Seidl regular Michael Thomas) still plies his trade singing saccharine ballads to dwindling crowds of bussed-in seniors. Pickled in booze, shimmering in gaudy outfits and oblivious in his total lack of scruples, Richie skates by selling sex to his elderly fans. But bravado can’t shield him from life: his father, deep into dementia, spouts snippets of Nazi propaganda at his nursing home, and his long-forgotten daughter Tessa turns up unexpectedly to make claims on years of unpaid child support.
Through previous works like the Paradise trilogy (MIFF 2012, 2013), Seidl has earned a reputation as a stalwart artist of the wretched indignities of loneliness, sex and the human body. Working again with co-writer and wife Veronika Franz as well as the immaculately detached widescreen photography of Wolfgang Thaler, the Austrian auteur offers another riveting and relentless character study – this time, inflected with critique about the lingering rot of German nationalism.
“Riveting … A shiveringly precise slow burn that continues to burrow new tunnels in the mind long after it ends.” – Variety
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