Katalin Varga (Romania-UK, 2009)

On the road to the past

This is an extraordinary film in that it’s the debut feature of British director Peter Strickland and a compelling vengeance-movie as the protagonist, expelled from her Transylvanian village, seeks the perpetrators of her misfortune. That Strickland had to go to Romania to make a debut feature is a poor reflection on the UK film industry, but this has allowed him to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and the distinctive village culture that, apparently, still exists. The story unfolds tangentially, and slowly, but nevertheless grips the attention.

Cinematographer Márk Györi gives the landscape a sinister beauty entirely in keeping with the narrative. Hilda Péter, as Katalin, has great presence,  inhabiting convincingly her driven character. In fact, the whole cast – a Hungarian theatre company – are excellent. Great music on the soundtrack too.

According to imdb, Strickland’s next film is due in more two years! I’ve categorised the film as Eastern European, rather than British despite Strickland’s producer-writer-director role, because it appears to be absolutely Romanian. Strickland could be a brilliant filmmaker.

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One Response

  1. […] director Sean Ellis follows Peter Strickland (Katalin Varga), Gareth Edwards (Monsters, UK, 2010) and Gareth Evans (The Raid, Indonesia-US-France, 2011) in […]

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