Helden in Tirol [Heroes in Tyrol] (1998)

Helden in Tirol
Director: Niki List
Writer: Niki List, Walter Kordesch
Cast: Christian Schmidt, Elke Winkens, Christian Pogats, Wolfgang S. Zechmayer, I. Stangl, Gregor Seberg, Werner Brix, Adrian Zwicker, Andreas Vitásek, Rüdiger Hentzschel, Walter Kordesch, Ludger Pistor, Adele Neuhauser, Silvia Fenz, Rudolf Strobl, Patrizia Moresco
Seen on: 14.2.2021

Content Note: rape, sexism, misogyny, transmisia/homomisia

Helden is a sleepy village in Tyrol, but the mayor (I Stangl) has big plans for it. It has been 25 years that Lorenz Luftsprung, who owns most of the village, disappeared and since no heir could be found, the mayor is about to gain control over it. And when he does, he will make Helden in a tourist paradise. But not everybody is okay with his plans. Foremost Max Adler (Christian Schmidt) fears the ecological consequences of the mayor’s plans. A fight for Helden starts.

Helden in Tirol is a catastrophe of a film that mistakes sexism for humor. It’s the kind of film that will appeal to people who cry “it’s satire” whenever a sexist, racist or otherwise offensive joke is made, but if you are not one of those people, you best stay away.

The film poster showing a drawing of the main characters, front and center shirtless Max Adler (Christian Schmidt), playing an electric guitar.

In Müllers Büro, we got a List musical that was incredibly sexist, too, but that also managed to be funny. With Helden in Tirol, List obviously tried to repeat the success of Müllers Büro but all that remains here is the sexism. Every frame of the film seemed poisoned by it and I barely managed to finish the film because of it.

It didn’t just mean that all the pretty women were sex objects and all the ugly women were horny jokes, but also that there were weird jokes about Mary (Adrian Zwicker) who may or may not be trans and/or gay or simply a cishet man who gets pushed into these categories because of his effeminate appearance – the film is too busy making jokes about him to really clarify. And there is an entire subplot where a guy falls in love with a woman who has a twin. He doesn’t know that she has a twin and the twins just decide to swap places so they both get to experience his sexual prowess. When he finds out about it, he is not horrified that he was raped, but of course glad because men don’t care who they fuck or something. In short, it’s a sexist clusterfuck all around.

Max (Christian Schmidt) and Emma (Elke Winkens) cuddled together.

It feels like there is no moment where the film doesn’t lean on this and that made it not only insufferable, but also destroyed all its attempts at trying to satirize Tyrol’s “tourism over everything” mentality (and that certainly deserves criticism). This was probably the reason it was shown now, by the way, giving how Tyrol is behaving in this here Corona crisis, but that’s really not the way to do this.

But even if I liked the programming’s side-eye towards Tyrol right now, it just doesn’t make this film worth it. Nothing does.

Helden's priest (Ludger Pistor) making a cross with his fingers.

Summarizing: No.

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