Archive of films Import/Export / Import/Export

2007, 135 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2007

The films of Austrian Ulrich Seidl are always controversial and Import/Export is no exception. This naturalistic parallel between the destinies of the Ukrainian girl Olga and Austrian lout Paul provoked highly contradictory responses at the 60th Cannes festival: some expected it to win the Palme d’Or, others totally rejected Seidl’s abrasively brutal view of the dark sides of humanity.


In his second feature film Ulrich Seidl draws parallels between the lives of a young Ukrainian who finds work in affluent Austria, and a young Austrian who leaves with his stepfather for Ukraine to install vending machines in various rundown urban areas. Their paths never cross, nor does the filmmaker wish to tell a story of their encounter; he simply wants to express the fact that their worlds are not so far removed from one another. Both in the East and in the West, he sees the same isolated and helpless individuals: for Olga, her job in a Viennese geriatric facility offers her a chance to escape her wretched existence at home. In Vienna, however, she discovers that, without citizenship, she is just a despised servant. In contrast to Olga, who at least has feelings and hopes that she’ll be able to return home one day, Paul, with his loutish behaviour concealing his lack of self-confidence and will, is a typical product of the capitalist adulation of success which, as a member of the lowest social strata, he can never achieve. The only vestige of self-respect he has left is manifested when he finally abandons his debauched and vulgar stepfather, who had long been his example.

About the director

Ulrich Seidl (b. 1952, Vienna) came to film fairly late on in his career, when he collaborated on the screenplay for Michael Glawogger’s film Krieg in Wien (1989). He then focused on documentaries whose uncomfortable depiction of the intimate aspects of human life earned Seidl international recognition from critics and public alike. His feature and documentary films have been shown in Karlovy Vary since 1996. His film Dog Days, screened in Karlovy Vary in 2002, won the Grand Prix at the Venice IFF in 2001. Filmography: (Good News: Von Kolporteuren, toten Hunden und anderen Wienern, 1990), Loss Is To Be Expected (Mit Verlust ist zu rechnen, 1992), The Last Real Men (Die letzten Männer, 1994), Animal Love (Tierische Liebe, 1995), Models (1998), Dog Days (Hundstage, 2001), Jesus, You Know (Jesus, Du weisst, 2003 – Best Documentary Award – KVIFF 2003).


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About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Screenplay: Ulrich Seidl, Veronika Franz
Dir. of Photography: Ed Lachman, Wolfgang Thaler
Editor: Christof Schertenleib
Producer: Ulrich Seidl
Production: Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion
Cast: Jekaterina Rak / Ekaterina Rak, Paul Hoffmann, Michael Thomas, Maria Hofstätter, Petra Morzé
Contact: Coproduction Office
Distributor: Aerofilms


Martin Schweighofer

Film Institution Rep.

Anne Laurent - Delage

Film Institution Rep.


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