All atmosphere and no story make "Foreigner" a pretty dull film, however curious the intention of Ines de Oliveira Cezar ("The Hours Go By") to remake Euripides' tragedy "Iphigeneia at Aulis" as a stripped-down desert parable.

All atmosphere and no story make “Foreigner” a pretty dull film, however curious the intention of Ines de Oliveira Cezar (“The Hours Go By”) to remake Euripides’ tragedy “Iphigeneia at Aulis” as a stripped-down desert parable. Practically forgoing dialogue to let the stunning visuals of Argentina’s Cordoba province replace the seaside setting of the Greek original, the pic ends up in a commercial wasteland. Of principal interest to those happy few who are already familiar with the play’s themes of resisting society’s injustice, it will have some marginal fest appeal.

A teenage girl (Agustina Munoz) wanders around the desert with her little brother, knowing her powerful father (Carlos Portaluppi) is determined to kill her, in the belief this sacrifice will end a terrible drought. Offering an occasional POV on the spare action is an out-of-place foreigner (played in Polish by Maciej Robakiewicz), who looks as puzzled as most viewers will at what’s going on. Film’s strong point is its setting in a rocky, burnt-out desert whose elemental forces, thrown onscreen in knockout Cinemascope by lenser Gerardo Silvatici, create an atmosphere of timeless tragedy. Pacing is leaden.

Foreigner

Argentina-Greece-Poland

Production

A Morocho Films (Buenos Aires)/Cinegram (Athens)/Scorpio Studio (Warsaw) co-production. Produced by Pablo Salomon. Directed by Ines de Oliveira Cezar. Screenplay, de Oliveira Cezar, Sergio Wolf, Lamberto Arevalo, based on Euripides' "Iphigeneia in Aulis."

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen, HD cam), Gerardo Silvatici; editor, Ana Poliak; music, Martin Pavlovsky; production designer, Aili Chen. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 16, 2007. Original title: Extranjera. Spanish, Polish dialogue. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Carlos Portaluppi, Agustina Munoz, Eva Bianco, Aymara Rovera, Maciej Robakiewicz.

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