EIFF 2009: Katalin Varga

Film Review by Keir Roper-Caldbeck | 29 Jun 2009
  • Katalin Varga
Film title: Katalin Varga
Director: Peter Strickland
Starring: Hilda Peter, Tibor Palffy, Norbert Tanko
Release date: TBC
Certificate: TBC

Since Birth of a Nation, rape and the ensuing quest for revenge have driven the plots of many films. In Katalin Varga, the debut feature of British director Peter Strickland, the story of the eponymous heroine’s journey of vengeance for a terrible violation in her past is shorn of all melodrama, and told with an economy and a moral purpose that gives it the resonance of myth. Filmed in Romania and Hungary, with dialogue in the local languages, it follows Katalin as she passes through a verdant landscape where horse carts and a traditional peasant lifestyle co-exist with mobile phones and shell suits. A soundtrack that mixes the ever-present hum of insects with eerie electronic noise infuses these pastoral scenes with a dread that taps directly into an atavistic fear of the forest. Katalin Varga is a film of great originality that is rooted in a little known corner of Europe and in the darkest depths of the human heart.

Showing as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009