In a world where loss is all around us, Austrian teenager Roman (Schubert) has everything to gain. Consigned to a juvenile detention centre for his past exploits, he has a chance for a new start if he can hold down a job for a month on day-release. However, after spending his formative years inside, he’s wary of friendship and bristles at authority, so his prospects of sticking it out with the Vienna mortuary service look iffy.
The subject matter is unglamorous, perhaps even worthy, yet this debut from esteemed Austrian actor Karl Markovics (he starred in ‘The Counterfeiters’) is a mature and touching piece of work. There’s no superficial flash here, just patient and compassionate storytelling gradually immersing us in this young man’s world, as first-timer Schubert’s vulnerable adolescent grows up before our very eyes. For people like him, feeling part of the world is something he must work on, and this slow-burning yet valuable film is a striking reminder of the preciousness of that connection.