Free Radicals (Barbara Albert)
Directed by Barbara Albert
Unsentimental yet deeply humane, Free Radicals "brims with energy, carefully drawn characters and fine acting" (The New York Post). In this "bruising, moving Altmanesque drama" (Time Out New York), writer/director Barbara Albert passionately explores the intersection of chance and fate as the seemingly unrelated residents of a suburban Austrian community become linked by a chain of circumstances. Albert, in her second film, subtly tempers cruel fate with "bright flashes of compassion" (The New York Daily News) to create an "intelligent, viscerally intellectual exercise" (The Village Voice), "grounded in the gorgeous strangeness of real life" (Film Comment).
Austrian housewife Manu's narrow escape from the catastrophic consequences of "The Butterfly Effect" aboard an airliner only sets her up for an even more shockingly random fate. As the devastating results of a traffic accident transform Manu's family and the young occupants of the other car, the personal and circumstantial fallout envelopes an entire community. Raw sexuality, burgeoning romance, suburban sprawl and unsolved child abduction form a four-season dramatic fresco that exposes the lonely yearning and thwarted redemption ricocheting the human particles of Free Radicals off of each other.
Boasting a first-rate cast featuring "scene stealer" (The New York Post) Deborah Ten Brink as Manu's young daughter and Michael Haneke regular Georg Friedrich (The Piano Teacher, Dog Days) as her husband, Free Radicals walks a stylistic and thematic tightrope suspended between open-hearted spirituality and unblinking realism. Barbara Albert's keen eye for physical detail and sympathetic ear for the muted cries of modern isolation incisively enlivens Free Radicals with "terrific visual and dramatic ideas." (The Village Voice)
"(four stars)" - John Anderson, Newsday
"Free Radicals is an intelligent exercise in montage enlivened with some terrifice visual and dramatic ideas." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice