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13 Tzameti

Filmed in arresting widescreen black and white, 13 Tzameti can be enjoyed on the simplest level as an arthouse thriller. Sebastien (Georges Babluani), an impoverished young immigrant from Georgia working as a roofer in rural France, overhears his employer speaking about a letter he has received. This letter contains instructions that will guide him to a lucrative job, albeit one with an undefined sense of danger. When Sebastien is not paid the money he desperately needs, he steals the letter and sets off on the path it details. As he is drawn deeper to his final destination, both our curiosity and our dread increase: We lack Sebastien’s hope that something may come out of whatever awaits him.


In a month filled with extravagantly simple-minded jock movies, a film like Room goes so far in the opposite direction as to almost even out the balance all by itself. Just as an indication of what you’re in for, Austin filmmaker Kyle Henry lists among his influences Don DeLillo, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, and filmmakers like Michael Snow, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Chantal Akerman, Nicolas Roeg and Ken Russell. In other words, there aren’t many of you who will be choosing between this and, say, Gridiron Gang.

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