31 August, 2008

Eduart (2006)

Hitting rock-bottom

Writer-director Angeliki Antoniou's restrained but powerful study of rage and redemption casts Eshref Durmishi as the Eduart of the title. Based upon true events that took place in Albania during the early post-Communist period of 1991-94, Eduart is a young man raised by an oppressive father, who leaves Albania for Greece, with the dream of becoming a rock star and living a better life.

But recklessness and the passions of youth lead Eduart to commit a murder in Athens, for which he is not caught, but is later imprisoned under the harshest conditions for robbery. With the help of German doctor Christof (André Hennicke), he learns to feel sympathy for others and guilt for his own unpunished crime. His deep remorse will lead him from darkness to light and, like the Dostoevskian hero Raskolnikov, Eduart passes from crime to punishment...

As Eduart, Durmishi strikes the right balance between bravura, painful desperation and thoughtful silence, while Hennicke is particularly fine in his nuanced role as the physician who runs the jail’s hospital even though he is also incarcerated, and the vexed relationship between the pair has emotional as well as visual validity, with their scenes together being the film's best.

Supporting actors - including Ndricim Xhepa as his army general father who turns him in for robbery, Ermela Teli as his beloved sister and Adrian Aziri as a kind inmate are also well drawn, if perhaps lacking the depth of the principals.

Cinematographer Jürgen Jürges brings an antiquated subtlety to the film that perfectly matches Antoniou’s thematic thrust and the whole, despite its disturbing setting and content, is riveting.

Awards: Too many to cite here. Check them out on

In Greek and German. 104 mins.

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