Katalin Varga

Written and directed by Peter Strickland
Screening at FACT from 9th-22nd October 2009

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

What is particularly outstanding about this film - other than the lyrical way it was photographed - is the multi-layered soundtrack. It gave emphasis to the sounds of nature, such as water, thunder and the rustling of trees, as well as the sound of distant human voices. The Picturehouse's superb audio system captured all of these sounds in resounding clarity.

Set in the dark, forbidding forests of Romania, Katalin Varga, movingly portrayed by Heida Péter, is on a revenge mission, after being banished from her village by her husband, who has discovered she had been raped eleven years ago.

Her journey through the Carpathians is via horse and cart with her son, and but for the fact shes uses a mobile phone, we could be looking at scenes from the Middle Ages. In one poignant scene we see farmers using pitchforks to collect hay.

She eventually catches up with the two men involved in her brutal ordeal in different locations. But this special film, directed by British director Peter Strickland, does not provide conventional consequences upon her doing so.

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