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Released 20 April 2012
Director Karl Markovics

Thomas Schubert, Karin Lischka, Georg Friedrich, Gerhard Liebmann, Stefan Matousch, Luna Mijovic, Georg Veitl, Klaus Rott
Writer(s) Karl Markovics

Dieter Pochlatko, Nikolaus Wisiak
Origin Austria
Running Time 94 minutes
Genre Drama
Rating TBC

Lease of life.

I often find it strange when you find yourself pulling for someone in a movie who quite obviously has had a questionable past. Or put in another way, rooting for atonement when you don't necessarily get the opportunity to witness the previous actions that resulted in these people's current angst. Breathing is a film that manages to achieve this in a very poignant, sometimes beautiful but equally frustrating way.

Orphaned teenager Roman Kogler has spent the majority of his adolescent years in a juvenile detention centre after playing a part in a boy's death a number of years earlier. Awakened by the prospect of being released on parole, Roman attempts to prove his worth in a work-release programme in, of all places, a morgue.

As the troubled youth struggles to adapt to what will become every day life upon his release, bullied by his co-workers who initially do not trust him, a change in Roman's attitude arises when he sees a dead woman with the same surname as his own and begins a search to find the whereabouts of his birth mother. With every passing day that he experiences more of the outside world, Roman yearns for acceptance, answers and freedom but, with no adult influence in his life, fear is his naturally overwhelming emotion.

The first half of the movie takes on a very regimented approached and, even after this, it is up to the viewer to determine the complexities of the situation by themselves as entire sequences can become monotonously hypnotic in their loneliness. Obviously, this is reflective of the rather bizarre, inward setting of prison and morgue existence.

A film that in large parts is left up to the imagination of the viewer can prove annoying – especially in instances where, really, nothing much actually occurs. However, there is a delicate fluidity to Breathing that ultimately makes it a success and well worth seeing.

- David Caulfield