The stronger second part in Austrian Ulrich Seidl’s trilogy about unfulfilled women follows hausfrau Anna Maria, a self-flagellating Catholic who hawks statues of the Virgin door to door in Vienna. It’s a struggle, but so is life at home, where her wheelchair-user Muslim husband, Nabil, has returned from a long absence, and the couple are far apart on conjugal rights and religion. As they more or less re-enact the Crusades, the strengths and weaknesses of Seidl’s approach are clear. Yes, he’s non-judgmental towards those who might be treated with scorn, yet his liking of contrived conflict stops us from fully buying into the story. Still, the unblinking takes and frontal compositions are powerful, and the film’s willingness to accept the dignity of the heroine’s spiritual journey, tracing the fine line between evangelical fervour and destructive bigotry, asks us to consider our prejudices. Flawed, but not to be dismissed.
|Release date:||Friday July 5 2013|
Cast and crew