3 Tage in Quiberon [3 Days in Quiberon] (2018)

3 Tage in Quiberon
Director: Emily Atef
Writer: Emily Atef
Cast: Marie Bäumer, Birgit Minichmayr, Charly Hübner, Robert Gwisdek, Denis Lavant, Vicky Krieps
Seen on: 25.4.2018

Plot:
Romy Schneider (Marie Bäumer) has withdrawn to a spa hotel slash rehab center to attempt to get her life under control again. Her friend Hilde (Birgit Minichmayr) comes to visit and support her, as she always does. Joining them are two journalists from the STERN magazine, Robert (Charly Hübner) and Michael (Robert Gwisdek) who want to interview Romy. Over the course of three days, they try to get past the surface while Hilde tries to shield Romy from their invasive questions.

3 Tage in Quiberon has an amazing cast and a good story, but I nevertheless had trouble staying with the film sometimes. Still, I did get the sense that those three days were a very special event.

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Die letzte Party deines Lebens [Party Hard Die Young] (2018)

Die letzte Party deines Lebens
Director: Dominik Hartl
Writer: Robert Buchschwenter, Karin Lomot
Cast: Elisabeth Wabitsch, Marlon Boess, Markus Freistätter, Michael Glantschnig, Valerie Huber, Antonia Moretti, Hisham Morscher, Thomas Otrok, Chantal Pausch, Alexandra Schmidt, Ferdinand Seebacher, Fabian Unger, Nikolaas von Schrader, Edita Malovcic, Michael Ostrowski
Seen on: 5.4.2018

Plot:
Julia (Elisabeth Wabitsch) and her classmates have finished school and as is increasingly common in Austria, that means that they’re packing their bags and heading for a week long party trip on an island off the coast of Croatia. It’s supposed to be a week of drinking, bathing and partying. Instead things turn sideways very quickly and Julia’s classmates start dying.

Die letzte Party deines Lebens is a classic teenie slasher that, unfortunately, has nothing much to recommend it. I was hoping for more from director Hartl.

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L’animale (2018)

L’animale (translates, unsurprisingly, as The Animal)
Director: Katharina Mückstein
Writer: Katharina Mückstein
Cast: Sophie Stockinger, Kathrin Resetarits, Dominik Warta, Julia Franz Richter, Jack Hofer, Dominic Marcus Singer, Simon Morzé, Stefan Pohl
Seen on: 17.3.2018
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Plot:
Mati (Sophie Stockinger) loves nothing more than to ride around on dirt bikes with her (male) friends, above all Sebastian (Jack Hofer). They are loud and brash and cause trouble in the area. But shortly before her final exam in school, Mati is thrown for quite a loop when Sebastian confesses that he is in love with her and Mati meets the older Carla (Julia Franz Richter) who she is drawn to. Both of these things threaten Mati’s standing with her guy friends and force her to make decisions.

I really liked L’animale, even though it gets a little too on the nose with its parallels and metaphors at times. But it’s a strong, emotional, well-made and queer coming-of-age film – and there can never be enough of those.

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Erik & Erika (2018)

Erik & Erika
Director: Reinhold Bilgeri
Writer: Dirk Kämper
Cast: Markus Freistätter, Ulrike Beimpold, Lili Epply, Gerhard Liebmann, Cornelius Obonya, Anna Posch, August Schmölzer, Nives Bogad, Harald Schrott, Marianne Sägebrecht, Rainer Wöss
Seen on: 17.3.2018
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Content note: cis and dya fuckery, trans- and intermisia

Plot:
Erik Schinegger (Markus Freistätter) grew up as Erika, always uncomfortable in what society expects of girls and unable to reconcile it with his own wishes. Until he starts skiing – a sport that he really loves. After he wins some big women’s races for Austria, a medical check reveals that he might not be a girl after all as everybody assumed he was – and Erik has to face some questions about his own identity and make some difficult decisions regarding his body and his career.

Look, I know that my plot summary is less than perfect with how it talks about Erik Schinegger, but honestly, it’s the best I could do and still have it have anything to do with the actual film. Because Erik & Erika is a mess and incredibly biologistic, heteronormative and sexist especially for a film that is about a trans and inter guy.

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Zerschlag mein Herz [Crush My Heart] (2018)

Zerschlag mein Herz
Director: Alexandra Makarová
Writer: Alexandra Makarová, Sebastian Schmidl
Cast: Roman Pokuta, Simona Kovácová, Frantisek Balog, Simonida Selimovic, Maximillian Six, Sasa Makarová, Wolfgang S. Zechmayer
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 15.3.2018
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Plot:
Pepe (Roman Pokuta) has been in Vienna for a while and he knows the lay of the land. He works for his uncle Rocky (Frantisek Balog), begging in the streets. When Marcela (Simona Kovácová) arrives from Slovakia to join them, Rocky asks Pepe to show Marcela the ropes. And while Marcela seems pretty hopeless at begging, Pepe and Marcela do get closer. But is their hard life made for love?

Zerschlag mein Herz really is aptly name because my heart was sufficiently crushed by the end of it. It’s a great film that looks at some hard truths about life in Vienna and an absolutely fantastic film, especially for a first feature.

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Phaidros (2018)

Phaidros
Director: Mara Mattuschka
Writer: Mara Mattuschka
Cast: Julian Sharp, Alexander E. Fennon, Nicola Filippelli, May Teodosio, Tamara Mascara
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 15.3.2018
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Content note: transmisogyny

Plot:
Emil (Julian Sharp) is an actor, currently working on the role of Phaidros opposite Werner Maria (Alexander E. Fennon) as Sokrates. But their stage relationship isn’t exactly cooperative and Emil is struggling with his own performance, looking for a big break. His private life is also not exactly satisfactory, although easy: he lives with the costume designer Maurizio (Nicola Filippelli) who takes care of his every need and is very much in love with him. But Emil is looking for something else.

Phaidros is a strange film – as a Mattuschka film is wont to be. It works in many ways, but in others not at all. Especially the transmisogyny in it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

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Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch? [Are You Sleeping, Brother Jakob?] (2018)

Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch?
Director: Stefan Bohun
Writer: David Bohun, Johannes Bohun, Stefan Bohun
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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Content Note: Suicide

“Plot”:
Matthias, Johannes, Stefan and David are brothers. There used to be a fifth one, Jakob, but he killed himself. Now the four remaining brothers are on a hiking trip together in the mountains where Jakob always felt at home. They use it as both a chance to talk about Jakob and to get closer to each other again.

Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch is a touching documentary and a gift from the filmmakers to share their very private process of grieving with the world. It’s beautiful.

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Anomalie [Anomaly] (2018)

Anomalie
Director: Richard Wilhelmer
Writer: Daniel Haingartner, Richard Wilhelmer
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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“Plot”:
Anomalie looks at the lines we draw between sane and insane and how blurry it actually is. Following Fritz Joachim Rudert, a homeless man with experiences as a patient in psychiatric wards, to his participation in the German anti-psychiatry movement, the film asks how we as a society decide about the standards and norms that we accept as true – and whether our reaction to deviations from those norms is as it should be.

Anomalie picked a very interesting topic for a documentary and tries to come at it from many angles – too many at times, maybe. Even if I would draw some conclusions differently than the film appears to, I was fascinated from beginning to end.

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★ (2017)

[aka Stern, translated as Star]
Director: Johann Lurf
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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“Plot”:
Movies have always looked to and at the stars, the sky, at the universe itself. Lurf collected all these images from the beginning of film to movies right now into one 102 minute supercut, exploring how we look at and relate to the stars.

I liked the idea of ★, but the resulting film fell a little flat for me. I felt that the stars were disenchanted by the sheer mass of images and I would have wished that the film contributed to the magic they exude instead.

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Short Films at the Diagonale 2018

I saw four short films at the Diagonale.
Sekundenschlaf [Microsleep] (2017)
Director: Lena Lemerhofer
Writer: Lena Lemerhofer
Cast: Paula Parker, Merten Schroedter, Judith Sehrbrock, Ayla Siegmund, Heike Warmuth
Generalprobe [Dress Rehearsal] (2017)
Director: Jannis Lenz
Writer: Jannis Lenz
Cast: Anna Suk, Ahmet Simsek
Bester Mann [Main Man] (2018)
Director: Florian Forsch
Writer: Florian Forsch
Cast: Adrian Grünewald, Frederik Schmid, Yuri Völsch, Thomas Bartholomäus, Jarl Lando Beger
Arena (2018)
Director: Björn Kämmerer
Seen on: 14.3.2018

Three of the four films I saw were part of a short film program, the fourth was a short opening film to another movie. All four films were strong, but some were stronger than others.

After the jump, read about each of the films seperately.

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