Die Migrantigen [The Migrumpies] (2017)

Die Migrantigen
Director: Arman T. Riahi
Writer: Aleksandar Petrovic, Faris Rahoma, Arman T. Riahi
Cast: Aleksandar Petrovic, Faris Rahoma, Doris Schretzmayer, Zijah Sokolovic, Daniela Zacherl, Josef Hader, Mehmet Ali Salman, Julia Jelinek, Maddalena Hirschal, Margarete Tiesel, Dirk Stermann, Mahir Jahmal, Rainer Wöss, Brigitte Kren
Seen on: 5.7.2017
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Plot:
Benny (Faris Rahoma) and Marko (Aleksandar Petrovic) have been best friends for about forever and both find themselves struggling: Benny would like to make it as an actor, but has had no luck so far, mostly because he’s usually reduced to small roles due to his darker skin. And Marko’s ad agency just went bust – and his girlfriend Sophie (Daniela Zacherl) is expecting their first child. As they try to figure out what to do, an opportunity falls into their lap in the shape of Marlene (Doris Schretzmayer), a TV reporter looking to do a hot take on immigrants in Vienna. Just for the heck of it Benny and Marko – who actually do have migration roots – turn into Omar Sharif and Tito to give Marlene all the clichés about immigrants roled into a neat little package. But when Marlene returns with the offer to do an entire reality TV show about them, the two find themselves trapped in their performance and enticed by the money and acting break it would mean for them.

Die Migrantigen is an entertaining film that nails quite a few very problematic things about the discourse on migrants in Austria in a very revealing, yet light-hearted way. Sometimes it’s a little too easy and sometimes its ideas are better than the execution, but mostly, it’s very enjoyable.

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#Single (2017)

#Single
Director: Andrea Eder
Writer: Andrea Eder, Constanze Schumann
Seen on: 20.5.2017

“Plot”:
The documentary follows five people who try their hand at online dating in very different ways. Ruth is looking for true love – finally -, while Philipp is more interested in finding fun. Wolfgang has been divorced three times and he doesn’t want to spend his retirement alone, while Veronika is ready to settle down with the right guy. And Darko is looking for a guy who can fulfill his expectations. 

#Single didn’t bring me much new information and it sometimes lacked a critical perspective on (online) dating, but it can be used as a starting point for interesting discussions.

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Meine Schwester [My Sister] (2011)

Meine Schwester
Director: Sascha Bigler
Writer: Sascha Bigler, Axel Götz
Cast: Christiane Hörbiger, Maresa Hörbiger, August Zirner, Simon Schwarz, Cornelius Obonya, August Schmölzer, Edita Malovcic, Stella Butz
Seen on: 16.5.2017

Plot:
Katharina Wallner (Christiane Hörbiger) owns a small shop. Much to the chagrin of her landlord Heinz Ortner (August Schmölzer) she has a contract for life. He would rather have her gone, so he can rent out the shop on better conditions. It’s just when he starts to put increasingly more pressure on Katharina that Katharina’s long lost sister Hannah Laval (Maresa Hörbiger) returns to Vienna. And Hannah isn’t as nice as Katharina, not by a long shot.

I stumbled into the film and since the cast wasn’t bad, I stuck around. It’s a rather solid TV production, but it’s really not a must see film.

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Cinema Futures (2016)

Cinema Futures
Director: Michael Palm
Writer: Michael Palm
Seen on: 15.5.2017

“Plot”:
In this documentary, Palm tackles the question of analogue versus digital filmmaking, interviewing experts in archiving and technology as well as filmmakers and artists like Martin ScorseseChristopher NolanApichatpong Weerasethakul and Tacita Dean.

Personally, I’m a fan of digital film and I never really understood why people get so obsessed with analogue film. After having seen this documentary, I still don’t really understand it, but nevertheless, it allowed me to consider new aspects about the issue.

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Seeing Voices (2016)

Seeing Voices
Director: Dariusz Kowalski
Writer: Dariusz Kowalski
Seen on: 8.5.2017

“Plot”:
Seeing Voices follows three different members of the deaf community in Vienna. The Hager family have a small son, all three of them are deaf. While the parents are sure that their son should grow up as part of their community, the doctors keep suggesting cochlear implants. Ayse comes from a difficult family situation, but she’s ready to start her way into adult life and learnin a job. Helene is a member of parliament, fighting for her community that way.

Seeing Voices is an interesting look at the deaf community here that touches on a lot of issues without ever becoming overloaded or overbearing.

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Siebzehn (2017)

Siebzehn
Director: Monja Art
Writer: Monja Art
Cast: Elisabeth Wabitsch, Anaelle Dézsy, Alexandra Schmidt, Christopher Schärf, Reinhard Nowak
Seen on: 2.5.2017

Plot:
Paula (Elisabeth Wabitsch) is in love with her classmate Charlotte (Anaelle Dézsy). But Charlotte has a boyfriend, Michael (Leo Plankensteiner). So Paula starts dating the nerdy Tim (Alexander Wychodil) instead, but Tim actually likes her. And then there’s also Lilli (Alexandra Schmidt) who knows how to handle boys and loves to get under Paula’s skin.

I really enjoyed Siebzehn. Not only was it shot where I live and features a bisexual protagonist, it’s simply a strong coming-of-age film with a pretty cool soundtrack. That’s how Austrian cinema should be.

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History of Now (2015)

History of Now
Director: Nadiv Molcho
Writer: Nadiv Molcho
Cast: Nadiv Molcho, Aya BeldiKai HillebrandLea Wolfram
Seen on: 1.3.2017

Plot:
Eli (Nadiv Molcho) and Maya (Aya Beldi) were in love until about a year ago when their relationship went down in flames. By chance, they meet again at a party and take the opportunity to reflect on their relationship. As they walk through Vienna and talk things through, maybe they’ll be able to shed new light on past events.

History of Now is obviously Molcho’s passion project and it shows in every minute of the film that he is a very young man – with emphasis on both the young and the man part. The result is okay, but not really my cup of tea. Maybe because I never was a young man.

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Wilde Maus [Wild Mouse] (2017)

Wilde Maus
Director: Josef Hader
Writer: Josef Hader
Cast: Josef Hader, Pia Hierzegger, Jörg Hartmann, Georg Friedrich, Denis Moschitto, Crina Semciuc, Nora von Waldstätten, Maria Hofstätter, Murathan Muslu
Seen on: 21.2.2017

Plot:
Georg (Josef Hader) has worked as a critic of classical music for decades, but with budget cuts hitting media outlets, he is fired. When it happens, he finds he can’t tell his wife Johanna (Pia Hierzegger) who is hoping to become pregnant despite being over 40 already. So Georg pretends to go to work every day and instead finds himself in the Prater, Vienna’s big amusement park. There he runs into Erich (Georg Friedrich). Despite their differences, the two start to spend a lot of time together, starting to renovate an old rollercoaster. But Georg is also set on taking revenge on his former boss Waller (Jörg Hartmann).

Wilde Maus is a dry and very black comedy that makes you laugh more often than it’s actually funny. It could have stood more female voices, but I did enjoy it.

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Die Hölle [Cold Hell] (2017)

Die Hölle
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Writer: Martin Ambrosch
Cast: Violetta Schurawlow, Tobias Moretti, Robert Palfrader, Sammy Sheik, Friedrich von Thun, Murathan Muslu, Nursel Köse, Verena Altenberger
Seen on: 6.2.2017

Plot:
Özge (Violetta Schurawlow) is a taxi driver with anger management issues. One night she returns home just in time to see a murder  in the appartment building across the street. Unfortunately the killer sees her, too and subsequently turns her life upside down completely. Özge finds an ally, though, in grumpy police officer Christian (Tobias Moretti) who offers her a place to stay almost inspite of himself. But Özge is a fighter and she won’t be playing victim for anybody, not even a killer.

Die Hölle really didn’t work for me, despite a couple of things that I did like. It was one of those films that left me uneasy as I left the cinema and that I disliked more and more with every minute I thought about it.

[SPOILERS]

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Jenseits des Krieges [East of War] (1996)

Jenseits des Krieges
Director: Ruth Beckermann
Writer: Ruth Beckermann
Seen on: 2.1.2017

“Plot”:
In the 90s, the Wehrmachtsausstellung reached Vienna. It detailed the war crimes committed by the Wehrmacht during World War II and created a lot of controversy, as the Wehrmacht thus far had been thought to have a relatively clean record (after an extensive review of the exhibition and its materials after the criticism, they found certain inaccuracies and a few generalizations that were too big, but the core argument still stands).
Beckermann visited the exhibition with her camera and interviewed the visitors to the exhibition, most of whom were Wehrmacht soldiers themselves.

Jenseits des Krieges is an incredibly important cinematic document and one that should be much older than it actually is. It proves that we had and still have a long way too go when it comes to our confrontation with World War II.

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