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Peter Strickland’s low-budget debut is an unsettling and slow-burning tale of revenge and redemption that announced the arrival of a major new British filmmaking talent.

Expelled from her house and village by her husband, Katalin Varga takes her son, Orbán, and heads into the Carpathian Mountains seeking revenge for the horrific crime perpetrated against her 11 years earlier. As Katalin confronts her attackers she becomes increasingly destabilised by her own violence.

Using money inherited from an uncle, UK-born Strickland decamped to Transylvania to make this suspenseful, morally complex film, shooting it in just 17 days. With echoes of Tarkovsky, Tarr and Dostoevsky, an everyday nightmare is rendered gothic through the eerie, empty landscape, Hilda Péter’s edgy, unpredictable performance, and the provocative sound design, recognised at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival with the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution.

“This is not Romanian realism but fantasy-tinged psychodrama, owing debts to Tarkovsky and Lynch, and gaining a lot from the piercing, accusatory presence of its memorable leading lady.” – The Telegraph

Contains sexual violence themes

Katalin Varga will screen with Peter Strickland’s short film Rising Within Realms.