A foreigner unintentionally stranded in Austria is trying everything to get to his original destination of Spain. A restorer who earns money on the side by painting religious icons has had enough of her ex-husband’s intrusions. He’s searching for the right words to get her back whilst sniffing around in the private lives of bi-national couples as part of his job as a police official. A gambling addict is hoping for assistance from a dubious finance institute. All of them are in search of happiness.
These four loosely connected stories tell of the here and now, where human trafficking, the vagaries of people smugglers, violence against women, restrictive immigration laws, gambling addiction, debt and business deals of all kinds are the order of the day. The pictures of saints and the penetrating gaze of angels, sacred statues and icons serve, however, to transcend the film’s realistic roots. The use of colour has a no less denaturalising effect, focussing exclusively on brown, yellow and red tones and bathing everything in a golden glow. But this divine radiance is deceptive, as even the gold leaf that covers the two lovers soon peels away. There’s always a price for happiness.
by Anja Salomonowitz
with Grégoire Colin, Tatjana Alexander, Cornelius Obonya, Lukas Miko
Austria 2012 102’

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