Katalin Varga, my second (and possibly my final) movie viewing at the ongoing Kolkata Film Festival, is a well-made, brooding, near-Dostoevskian tale of revenge and redemption from Romania. The bleak yet emotionally resonant exterior, art-house flavour, and distinctly folksy/old-world feel, belie the fact that this is the debut feature of Peter Strickland, who, interestingly, happens to be British by birth. A good revenge story isn’t necessarily one loaded with an ingenuous plot and high-octane thrills. Katalin Varga, which is about the eponymous lady’s bid to get even with a couple of men from her past, lies in the domain of such movies as Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Revanche, where violence lurks just around the corner, ready to explode at the first given opportunity. In fact, the fate that Katalin finally meets reminded me about the climax in the Park Chan-Wook work, while its philosophical undertones were reminiscent of the Gotz Spielmann film. The luscious Hilda Peter, in the role of the wronged woman out to seek justice, has brought in the right mixture of sexual undercurrent, motherly care and latent anger in her layered performance. Agreed, the screenplay could have been more gripping; however, the crisp length ensured everyone hung in till the movie’s strong and satisfactory finale.
Director: Peter Strickland Genre: Drama/Revenge Movie Language: Romanian Country: Romania