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Ulrich Seidl’s Rimini gets a trailer and a UK release date

Winner of the Grand Prix for Best Feature Film at the Diagonale Film Festival, Austrian born Ulrich Seidl’s Rimini is an unflinching, blackly comic drama, featuring an astonishing lead performance by Michael Thomas (Import Export) as washed-up, corset-wearing pop star Richie Bravo, who ekes out a living in a run-down Italian seaside resort, belting out wonderfully appalling ballads to an ageing audience in an off-season restaurant. Recalling Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, and like an X-rated version of Gerard Depardieiu in The Singer, Bravo is shamelessly seedy and undeniably loveable, despite his dreadful fashion sense and inappropriate between-songs banter (“Why so quiet? I was hoping for more energy!”). When his estranged daughter turns up, his comfortably boozy existence is rocked.

Richie Bravo, once upon a time a successful pop star, chases after his faded fame in wintry Rimini. He funds his dissolute lifestyle and addiction to gambling with concerts for busloads of tourists and sexual favours for his female fans. His world starts to collapse when his adult daughter suddenly breaks into his life and demands money from him that he never gave her. Meanwhile his elderly father, who suffers from dementia, goes round and round in circles in an Austrian nursing home.

Austrian born Ulrich Seidl is the director of numerous award-winning films and documentaries, including his feature debut Dog Days, which won the Grand Jury Special Prize at the 2001 Venice Film Festival; Palme d’Or nominee Import Export; and numerous award-winning documentaries such as Jesus You Know, Models and Animal Love. Seidl’s film work, derived from personal experiences like a severe Catholic upbringing and doing casual labour as a night watchman and warehouse worker, continues to shock and challenge viewers by posing essential questions about the nature of cinema and its ‘morals’: about the grey areas between the fictional and the documentary; about the limits of voyeurism and the urge to fight sentimentality; about the very different modes of acting – from amateur posing to professional faking.

Rimini opens in UK cinemas on 9th December.

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