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Film / Attenberg

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This is the story of a young woman named Marina, who suffers from a peculiar mix of being too inhibited and lacking appropriate boundaries. Or rather, this is the story of how she wrestles with her father's impending death, her own self-esteem and her ambivalent sexuality. Nothing is shown of the rest of her life. The audience never gets to know what she does for a living or what interests she has in life. All we get to know about her besides the three issues mentioned is that her mother is already dead, she is 23 years old, and she drives a car.

There are only four characters:

  • The heroine, Marina
  • Her father, Spyros
  • Her best friend, Bella, who works in a bar and can be assumed to be the same age as Marina.
  • A nameless balding middle-aged guy whom Marina randomly starts dating.

This does not count a guy who appears only in one scene. In this scene, Marina is talking with a guy who sells coffins and that kind of stuff in advance for her not-yet-dead father's funeral. There might also be a sixth character appearing briefly: a man who is making out with Bella in one scene.

Has examples of:

  • Ambiguous Situation: The relationship between Marina and Bella... is it Friendly War, With Friends Like These... or even Belligerent Sexual Tension? Maybe all three at once!
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension / Les Yay: Bella may or may not be attracted to Marina. She keeps making playful (?) advances and invitations, and more importantly puts up with Marina's meanness. Marina denies being attracted to Bella... right before accepting the invitation to fondle Bella's boobs.
  • Burial at Sea: The plotline about her father's death is building up to this, with a lot of discussion about it between the character. The movie eventually end with Marina throwing the ash in the ocean as intended, without any further ado.
  • Cat Girl/Cat Fight: Played with, as the movie starts with Marina and Bella awkwardly practicing kissing with each other: Marina freaks out, and starts first spitting on Bella and then attacking her physically. Soon they are both down on all fours, hissing and clawing at each other. Bella even says "meow".
  • Death Is a Sad Thing: Much of the story is about Marina trying to cope with becoming a young adult orphan: Her mother is long gone, and now her father is dying.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Sort of the whole story is about Marina being dysfunctional in all sorts of ways and thus having partly dysfunctional relationships with the people around her, but the other characters are not portrayed as actually being dysfunctional themselves. And Marina is never established as being mentally disturbed or anything: She's simply a sad and confused young woman. Her family relationship with her father is portrayed as a good one, making his impending death even harder for her.
  • Fetish Retardant/Squick: The story runs on in-universe examples of this, with pretty much all characters getting squicked out by each other in various ways. As for the audience, the movie is not designed to be sexy, and not designed to be gross either. Simply a portrayal of people being weird and confused.
    • One scene in particular has Marina trying to make love to her boyfriend. But she's just babbling all the time. And he's just lying there, muttering that he can't get it up when she goes on like that.
  • Friendly War: It is likely that much of the conflict and cruelty between Marina and Bella is actually neither conflict nor cruel.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Marina makes it clear she doesn't want to hear any details of Bella having sex with her father. She leads Bella to the door of her father's hospital room, then walks off.
  • Parental Incest: The absence of this is a major plotline. Marina makes a creepy little advance, probably fueled by despair and confusion more than anything else. When her father rejects her advance she agrees with him that some things aught to be taboo, and instead goes on about how she wants him to not have a penis. Still thinking that he ought to have sex again before he dies, Marina eventually resolves this issue by lending him her best friend instead.
  • Practice Kiss: Opens the movie.
  • Pre-Climax Climax
  • Sour Prudes: It is established that Bella is more sexually experienced and that Marina feels inadequate. And then hardly a conversation goes by without Marina calling Bella "whore", "stupid", or (depending on translation) either "wild animal" or "predator".
    • Of course, this doesn't stop Marina from using Bella for advice, kissing practice, lending her out to her dying father (who had not asked his daughter to provide him with women) for a one-night stand.
  • With Friends Like These...: It is never explained why Bella puts up with the constant verbal abuse from Marina. Maybe it's not as bad as it looks, maybe Bella just feels sorry for her because Marina's father is dying. Or maybe she has a crush on Marina.
  • You Owe Me: Marina tells Bella she will do her any favour of her chosing, in exchange for sleeping with Spyros. It's not revealed what Bella asks for in return, if she ever does.