“Plot”: Johanna Dohnal was Austria’s first minister for women and the first (outspoken) feminist to be part of the government in Austria (maybe even Europe). She fought for women’s rights and achieved a lot. The documentary looks at her achievements, her career and the influence she still has.
I have to say that until this documentary came out, Dohnal was not a name I really knew. She was a minister when I was a child and I was not a child overly involved in politics. And as is so often the case, women and their achievements are more quickly forgotten than you’d ever think possible. I don’t think I ever heard about Dohnal in school. So it is fantastic to get this documentary that memorializes her and makes sure we don’t forget what she made possible.
Plot: Tobias (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the co-pilot for a flight from Berlin. Everything is going fine with the preparations, but as soon as the machine is up in the air, all hell breaks loose. A few men try to take over the plane. There are strict protocols for a situation like this, but as Tobias quickly learns when you’re actually faced with having to apply those protocols, things are far from clear-cut.
7500 is a tight thriller with an excellent performance by Gordon-Levitt that taps into an often-conjured scenario in a realistic way. I am a little hesitant if it really manages to work against the anti-muslim sentiments that come with that scenario, but at least it tries very much to do so.
“Plot”: In Widerstandsmomente, Schmeiser brings together various women and how they resist(ed) – starting in the World War II and stretching all the way to today. She puts various forms of resistance next to each other, examining the possibilities for everyone to resist in their own way.
I thought the topic of Widerstandsmomente was very interesting and I’m all here for resistance, but the film didn’t really come together for me, unfortunately.
“Plot”: Street dogs are roaming the streets of Moscow, always looking for a bite to eat somewhere. Laika, the first dog who went to space, in fact, one of the first living beings from earth to go, period, was also a street dog. For her to be able to go, experiments had to be carried out, on more dogs. The documentary takes a look at the relationship between Moscow and its dogs.
Space Dogs is a documentary in two interlocking parts, both of which felt very different to me, I have to say. Though I found both very interesting and well done, the part about the street dogs in Moscow today is the one that resonated more with me. In any case, the film is excellent, but also not always easy to take.
Plot: Richy (Georg Friedrich), Tom (Christopher Schärf) and Charly (Marcel Mohab) have a plan: they will break into a famous artist’s house, empty his safe and then they’ll be rich. But things don’t go as planned. In fact, pretty much everything that can go wrong, does go wrong and Richy finds himself injured and looking for an escape with Tom, while Charly gets left behind. Out of options, Richy and Tom kidnap a bus, including the people riding on it, to get away from both the police and Charly. But their victims appear surprisingly disinterested in their fate: it turns out they are all on a “grief tour”, trying to work through the recent loss of a loved one.
I probably wouldn’t have watched Nichts zu verlieren if it wasn’t for Georg Friedrich (and to a lesser extent Christopher Schärf). The film just looked a little too much like a shallow comedy for my taste. While that impression wasn’t wrong, the film wasn’t bad and did manage to make me laugh a couple of times.
Plot: The Countess (Alba Rohrwacher) wants a new accessoire, so she heads to the slave market to get herself a black boy. The first Angelo she gets gets ill and dies, unfortunately, so she gets another one. This Angelo (Kenny Nzogang) is hardier. He grows up in her household. Baptized and educated, Angelo Soliman (Makita Samba) becomes the court mascot in Vienna. But he will not be confined to his assigned role.
I’m afraid that I saw Angelo on the wrong day and in the wrong way, so I’m not sure how much of its lack of an effect on me is due to that and how much is the film itself. It definitely does have very strong moments and is interesting in many ways, so I definitely wouldn’t discount it entirely.
Plot: Austria has a new government and the new Chancellor (Eugen Neufeld) is a raging antisemite. He manages to pass a new law that will force all Jews to leave by the end of the year. The law is received with great enthusiasm, and the Jews actually do leave, although there are some people who are against it like the Jewish artist Leo (Johannes Riemann) and the girl he is in love with, Lotte (Anny Miletty), daughter of a politician who voted for the banishment. But once the Jews are gone, it doesn’t quite have the intended effect.
Of course, from today’s perspective Die Stadt ohne Juden seems both prescient and not exactly great activism anymore. In any case, it’s a chilling historical document and an interesting film.
Plot: Joy (Anwulika Alphonsus) is a sex worker in Vienna, although she is originally from Nigeria, like pretty much all of the people around her. When a new woman, Precious (Mariam Sanusi), is brought in, Madame (Angela Ekeleme) instructs Joy to show her the ropes. But Precious is not ready to accept that her life is supposed to be what Joy has already accepted for herself and her rebellious nature brings both of them a lot of trouble.
Joy is a well-researched film that packs a lot in its comparatively short runtime. But whether it caught me on the wrong day or it’s actually lacking something, I failed to get into the story on an emotional level, making the film feel flatter than it should.
Plot: Christoph (Laurence Rupp), called Burschi (“little boy”), has finally achieved what he has always dreamed of: he is training with the WEGA, Austria’s police special forces unit, under Konstantin Blago (Anton Noori), his big idol. His father Heinz (Roland Düringer) who is also a cop, but turned away from his career towards a more social role in the force sees Christoph’s dream with a critical eye. On a seemingly routine call Christoph ends up shooting a mentally ill man (Michael Fuith) who attacked. Celebrated as a hero by his squad and criticized by the public, Christoph starts to struggle with the events and his role in them.
I was pretty impressed by Cops as it takes a deep dive into police culture – which also means looking very sharply at masculinity. It’s sociological analysis in movie form and one I had yet to see from an Austrian perspective. Istvan handles it very well.
“Plot”: Kurt Waldheim was president of Austria from 1986 to 1992, after being the Secretary General of the UN. During his election campaign, it was revealed that he was an intelligence officer in the Wehrmacht and he was implicated in Nazi mass killings – a fact that did not keep him from getting elected, despite many discussions about it. Beckermann was involved in the protests against Waldheim at the time and filmed a lot of material – material she thought lost, but found again and now uses to look back at how things unfolded.
Waldheims Walzer is an excellent documentary. It’s informative, concise and brings home the flabbergasting outrageousness of it all, proving yet again how little Austria has done to reckon with its own past.