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Antares (2004)—AustriaAntares (2004)—Austria

Antares is one of the brightest stars in the night sky, but everyone in this film flames out into darkness. As I watched the lives of three dysfunctional couples deconstruct, my mind wandered to the wisdom of the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria: "Be kind to all, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." All three couples are trapped in the same drab high rise apartments that serve as metaphors for their interior landscapes. The bored nurse Eva has an affair with an out of town doctor, but despite their torrid love affair she does not even remember the man's last name; nor do we ever learn her husband's name. The young and needy checkout clerk Sonja fakes a pregnancy to persuade her cheating boyfriend Marco to marry her. He's an immigrant laborer from Yugoslavia, injecting not only class-consciousness but ethnicity and immigration into the film. Despite her efforts to free herself, domestic violence traps Nicole with the jealous and abusive Alex, the third couple. In twists of fate that are more bizarre than important to the plot, the lives of these six people crash and collide, but only as ships passing in the night. Austrian angst buries everyone. In German with English subtitles.

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