Star Rating:

13 Tzameti

Director: Gela Babluani

Actors: Aurelien Recoing, George Babluani, Phillppe Passon

Release Date: Thursday 12th January 2006

Genre(s): Drama

Running time: 94 minutes

When his drug-addicted employer dies of an overdose, young roofer Sebastian (Babluani) steals a letter from his house that contains directions and a train ticket. The inquisitive Sebastian takes the train ticket to an unknown destination, where he receives more instructions over the phone.

This leads him to an old house in the middle of the French countryside where Sebastian finds himself trapped in a hellish nightmare - employed in a game of Russian roulette with twelve other 'players', some so doped up on morphine they don't even know they're there. Meanwhile, the police close the net around this lucrative 'game' that sees wealthy businessmen gamble on young men's lives.

13, a debut film from writer-director Babluani, is one of the most brutal and shocking films of recent times. Starting off at a snail's pace on a less than picturesque beach on an overcast day, this bleak black and white film starts as it means to go on. Taking an eternity to get going, Babluani's cool, confident direction slowly drags the viewer in and pays off on patience with interest. His deathly slow, Sergio Leone-style direction still manages to get the heart racing at a phenomenal rate while never upping the pace of the film - it's like watching your own death in slow motion.

George Babluani as Sebastian mirrors the audience reaction every step of the way - boredom, curiosity and then, finally, horror.