Attenberg – Athina Rachel Tsangari (2012)

The spiritual cousin of last year’s Dogtooth, Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Attenberg is almost as strange and almost as engrossing in its strong, relevant look at the financially and socially ravaged Greece, told from the inside but through the wary eyes of immigrants Marina and her dying father Spyros. Like a Vonnegut story, there is no suspense about this: he will die, and she will be alone in the world, except for Bella, her exhibitionist best friend, who’s teaching the sheltered Marina the things Spyros never could. In some ways she’s as fresh as a robot learning to be human from Bella, whose lessons amount to casual whim and loose fancy: tongue kissing and silly, crotch-grabbing dances in place of emotions. Attenberg is hilarious in the dry-roasted sense, pulling smirks and giggles out of its incredibly painful awkwardness and deeply striking absurdities. It’s a treat for those who can hang with it.