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Film / Western (2017)

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Western is a 2017 Austrian/Bulgarian/German film directed by Valeska Grisebach.

Meinhard is a middle-aged German man hired for construction work in a Bulgarian village. The all-German construction crew often butts heads with the locals. Meinhard stays out of the altercations. At one point he finds a white horse belonging to a local named Adrian and Meinhard befriends him and his family. However, tensions between Germans and Bulgarians keep escalating due to lack of water.

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Tropes:

  • Dance Party Ending: The film ends with Meinhard dancing with everybody at a party where the two nationalities mingle.
  • Legion of Lost Souls: Little is said of Meinhard's past, except, importantly, that he used to be in the French Legion and served in Iraq.
  • Mercy Kill: The foreman Vincent haphazardly tries to ride the white horse up a hill, resulting in the horse becoming irredeemably injured. Vincent just abandons it. Much later, Meinhard finds the horse still alive and shoots it to end its agony.
  • The Social Darwinist: When Meinhard describes his opinion of the world to Adrian, he says that people are like animals and that it's "eat or get eaten" out there. It's pretty obvious that Meinhard doesn't actually enjoy having this view though, nor does he espouse it, seeing it more as an unfortunate and unchangeable fact of life that he learned during the war.
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  • War Is Hell: When asked whether Meinhard killed anyone in Iraq, he sort of dodges the question and says that killing is not as easy as it seems. It's implied that he's pretty scarred by his experiences as a soldier and that's part of why he interacts peacefully with the locals, very unlike his colleagues.
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