★ (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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Onkel Wanja [Uncle Vanya] (2017)

Onkel Wanja
Director: Anna Martinetz
Writer: Anna Martinetz
Based on: Anton Chekhov‘s play
Cast: Martin Butzke, Korinna Krauss, Wolfgang Hübsch, Julia Dietze, Manuel Rubey, Michael Kranz, Marion Krawitz, Katalin Zsigmondy, Doris Buchrucker, Karl Knaup
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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Plot:
Alexander (Wolfgang Hübsch) has withdrawn to his uncle Wanja’s (Martin Butzke) country estate to escape the financial crisis that is shaking the city and has caused a revolution. In the country, things still are mostly the same and Wanja and Sonja (Korinna Krauss) want to keep it that way. But Alexander and his wife Elena (Julia Dietze) have business ideas – lots of them.

Onkel Wanja is an ambitious project that tries a lot but it’s unfortunately also one that fails a lot. For me it was mostly marked by feeling long and exhausting, although there were a few bits that were pretty strong.

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Murer: Anatomie eines Prozesses [Murer: Anatomy of a Trial] (2018)

Murer: Anatomie eines Prozesses
Director: Christian Frosch
Writer: Christian Frosch
Cast: Karl Fischer, Alexander E. Fennon, Melita Jurisic, Ursula Ofner, Karl Markovics, Gerhard Liebmann, Roland Jaeger, Doval’e Glickman, Rainer Wöss, Erni Mangold, Susi Stach
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 13.3.2018
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Plot:
In 1963, Franz Murer (Karl Fischer) is a pillar of his Austrian community, a politician and one of the richest men in the area. But during the Second World War, he was an important men for the Nazis and ran the ghetto in Vilnius where he was known for his cruelty. Simon Wiesenthal (Karl Markovics) has been fighting to get him in front of a judge, and finally he succeeds: Murer is tried for his war crimes. But will he be found guilty?

Murer: Anatomie eines Prozesses is an excellent film in all areas and a condemnation of Austria, especially with regards to the lack of accountability for our participation in World War Two – a lack that still haunts us to this day and causes nothing but problems. It’s hard to watch but absolutely necessary.

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Life Guidance (2017)

Life Guidance
Writer: Ruth Mader
Director: Martin Leidenfrost, Ruth Mader
Cast: Fritz Karl, Katharina Lorenz, Florian Teichtmeister, Nicolas Jarosch, Petra Morzé, Udo Samel, Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, Johann Adam Oest
Seen on: 22.1.2018
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Plot:
Alexander (Fritz Karl) is married to Anna (Katharina Lorenz). They have a son (Nicolas Jarosch) and by the looks of it, their life is pretty much perfect. But then Alexander says something that worries Life Guidance, the organisation in charge of helping people living the best life they can possibly live. They send in their agent, Gregor (Florian Teichtmeister), to make sure that Alexander stays on track.

I wanted to like Life Guidance – being an Austrian Science Fiction film made by a woman – much more than I actually did. While it has strong parts, it just doesn’t come together as it should.

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Hagazussa [Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse] (2017)

Hagazussa
Director: Lukas Feigelfeld
Writer: Lukas Feigelfeld
Cast: Aleksandra Cwen, Celina Peter, Claudia Martini, Tanja Petrovsky, Haymon Maria Buttinger
Part of: /slash Filmfestival Christmas special
Seen on: 21.12.2017
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Plot:
Albrun (Celina Peter) lives with her mother (Claudia Martini) in a small hut in the alps. Their lives are withdrawn and lonely, the mother being suspected by everyone in their village of being a witch. After her mother’s death, the by now grown Albrun (Aleksandra Cwen) remains completely on her own and equally shunned. But after she gives birth herself and receives a present from the village priest (Haymon Maria Buttinger), there does seem to be a present in her hut that isn’t supposed to be there.

Hagazussa is a film from a promising filmmaker that isn’t quite as good as it could have been. But it’s definitely interesting enough to warrant keeping an eye out for what Feigelfeld does next.

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Tiere [Animals] (2017)

Tiere
Director: Greg Zglinski
Writer: Jörg Kalt, Greg Zglinski
Cast: Birgit Minichmayr, Philipp Hochmair, Mona Petri, Mehdi Nebbou, Michael Ostrowski
Seen on: 1.12.2017
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Plot:
Anna (Birgit Minichmayr) and Nick (Philipp Hochmair) are on their way to a cabin in the alps for a bit of time removed from the bustle of the city. They both want to write – Anna a new novel, her first for adults and Nick a cookbook. They hire a housesitter, Mischa (Mona Petri) and drive off after Nick takes his leave from the woman he sleeps with, Andrea (Mona Petri). But on their way to the cabin, they hit a sheep and things become stranger and stranger.

Tiere is an interesting film that plays nicely with reality in its entangled narrative, creating an out of this world feeling that is enjoyable and confounding.

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Short Films from the Filmakademie Wien

Every year at the end of the year, the Filmakademie Wien presents some of the best student short films that have been produced there, giving a glimpse of the filmmaking talent that’s on the rise in Austria. A short note on each of the three films that were shown.
Seen on: 29.11.2017

Zalesie

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Licht [Mademoiselle Paradis] (2017)

Licht [literally: Light]
Director: Barbara Albert
Writer: Kathrin Resetarits, Barbara Albert
Based on: Alissa Walser‘s novel Am Anfang war die Nacht Musik
Cast: Maria Dragus, Devid Striesow, Lukas Miko, Katja Kolm, Maresi Riegner, Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg, Stefanie Reinsperger, Christoph Luser, Susanne Wuest, Theresa Martini, Julia Pointner
Seen on: 23.11.2017
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Plot:
Maria-Theresia Paradis (Maria Dragus) is a gifted musician who lost her eyesight at a young age for no apparent reason. Now her parents have heard about the revolutionary methods of physician Franz Mesmer (Devid Striesow) and they are hoping that he will be able to restore her eyesight. So Maria-Theresia is brought to his castle where Mesmer sets to work. Soon their relationship becomes very intense and there seems to be improvement in her condition.

I was hoping I would like Licht more than I actually did. Unfortunately I was unhappy with the way the film dealt with disability and I felt that it had considerable lengths.

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Die Strecke (1927) + Wien Diesel

Die Strecke [probably best translated as The Tracks]
Director: Max Neufeld
Writer: Jacques Bachrach, Oskar Bendiener, Max Neufeld
Cast: Maly Delschaft, Anton Edthofer, Hans Unterkircher, Eugen Neufeld, Hans Thimig, Hans Marr, Carmen Cartellieri
Part of: Viennale
With music by: Wien Diesel
Seen on: 28.10.2017
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Plot:
Marie (Maly Delschaft) is stuck in a small-town train station where her husband works. She dreams of the big city, a dream that is fueled by her husband’s new boss. But he has ulterior motives and Marie finds herself under a lot of pressure by him as her husband grows suspicious of her own loyalties.

Die Strecke is not a great film, but thanks to accompanying band Wien Diesel, it was an experience to watch it – an experience I enjoyed a whole lot.

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