Gabi (Ulrike Beimpold) is a supermarket cashier, stuck in her routine. Her kids Ronnie and Sabine (Nikolai Gemel, Angelika Strahser) are grown, her husband Hannes (Rainer Wöss) is distant. She spends most of her spare time trying to lose weight. But all that changes when Gabi starts hearing voices. At first she fights for her routine, but she is soon overpowered by the cacophony of questions and demands in her head. Is she going crazy? Or has she actually been chosen by god?
Superwelt was a fascinating, touching and engaging film, further cementing Markovics skill as a director (I mean, he is a really good actor, but I wouldn’t mind if he would start directing movies full time) and Beimpold’s everything.
I’m not a religious person. In fact, I’m deeply suspicious of (organized) religion and have a hard time with spiritual content in general. So I was a little hesitant when it came to Superwelt, but since I try to watch as many Austrian films in the cinema as I can and since I did like Markovics’ first film Atmen, I decided to take a chance. Turns out, I needn’t have worried. Although religion does play a part in the film, it’s much less central than you’d expect. And even when it’s referenced (as with the burning bush or the “last” supper), it’s not done without humor. That I can very well deal with.
And it would have been a pity had I missed the film and that’s 90% due to Ulrike Beimpold. She really is mind-blowingly good in the role. She swerves from childlike innocence to heartbreaking pain and back to pure numbness and it always feels completely true. More than once I was close to tears because of her performance.
Everything else pales in comparison, though the film has many other good qualities as well – from the stunning cinematography to Rainer Wöss, who is the only one who manages to squeeze some great performance in next to Beimpold’s presence [and no, this is not some kind of weird fat joke].
Ultimately, the question of god vs short psychotic break remains unanswered – and inconsequential. This is a film about a woman’s fight for herself, for her position in the world and her joy in her own life, by any means necessary. And it’s a fight you want to see, as long as the result is a success.