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

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

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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Was ist Liebe…? [What Is Love…?] (1924) + Battle-ax

Was ist Liebe…?
Director: Leopold Niernberger
Writer: Carla Karman, Leopold Niernberger
Cast: Dora Kaiser, Alice Hetsey, Carmen Cartellieri, Theo Shall, Rudolf Kaiser
Part of: Viennale
With music by: Battle-ax
Seen on: 24.10.2017

Doris (Dora Kaiser) and her sister Carmen (Carmen Cartellieri) are very different people. Where Doris is all innocence and kindness, Carmen is much more selfish and calculating. But after their mother’s death, the two of them find work at the Variété together. Doris’ star keeps rising there and Carmen wants to capitalize on it any way she can.

I enjoyed large parts of the film, but in this case, the live music did the movie a disservice. That being said, there was still much to like about it.

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Wir töten Stella [Killing Stella] (2017)

Wir töten Stella
Director: Julian Pölsler
Writer: Julian Pölsler
Based on: Marlen Haushofer‘s novella
Cast: Martina GedeckMatthias BrandtMala EmdeKatja BellinghausenJulius Hagg
Seen on: 16.10.2017

Anna (Martina Gedeck) has the perfect family: she’s married to successful lawyer Richard (Matthias Brandt), they have a teenage son, Wolfgang (Julius Hagg), a beautiful home and more than enough money. So when their friend asks them to take in the 19-year-old Stella (Mala Emde), a beautiful but unrefined and withdrawn young woman, Anna accepts and gives Stella a bit of a make-over. But Stella’s presence disturbs the carefully cultivated family appearance.

Wir töten Stella is a strong, incredibly sad and very critical film. It’s beautifully made and despite a couple of lengths, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.

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Tiere und andere Menschen [Animals and Other People] (2017)

Tiere und andere Menschen
Director: Flavio Marchetti
Writer: Flavio Marchetti, Katharina Mückstein
Seen on: 16.10.2017

The Wiener Tierschutzverein (Viennese Animal Protection Society) is among the oldest and biggest animal shelters in Europe. They not only a house a wide variety of animals – from cats and dogs to chimpanzees – but also treat injured wild animals and occupy themselves with strays. The documentary takes a look at the every day life of the shelter animals and their employees and volunteers.

Tiere und andere Menschen is a nice look behind the scenes of the animal shelter and gives you a lot of insight into just their day to day challenges. I really enjoyed it, but be warned: if you’re a sap like me, you’ll probably want to adopt every single animal they show after the film.

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Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2017

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2017 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Rémy Rondeau for his short J’aime Eva Marsh.
Seen on: 22.9.2017, 25.9.2017, 26.9.2017

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Die Dritte Option (2017)

Die Dritte Option
Director: Thomas Fürhapter
Writer: Thomas Fürhapter
Seen on: 21.9.2017

With the technological advances making more and more in utero testing possible comes a new decision parents have to make: if a disability is discovered in those tests, should they have the baby anyway or should they abort?
In his documentary, Fürhapter examines that intersection of disability rights and bodily autonomy and the difficult ethics that people have to navigate because of those advances in technology.

Die Dritte Option tackles a difficult topic in an interesting way and makes some excellent points but falls incredibly short because it doesn’t consider the perspective of disabled people even once.

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Los decentes [A Decent Woman] (2016)

Los decentes
Director: Lukas Valenta Rinner
Writer: Ana GodoyAriel GurevichMartín Shanly, Lukas Valenta Rinner
Cast: Iride MockertIvanna Colona OlsenMariano SayavedraPablo Seijo, Martín Shanly, Andrea Strenitz
Seen on: 19.9.2017

Belen (Iride Mockert) finds a new job as a maid in a gated community just outside Buenos Aires. It’s a rich, proper and maybe a little boring place. But adjacent to it is another kind of gated community: a nudist swinger club. The quiet Belen finds herself intrigued and starts to visit that club more and more.

Maybe Los Decentes simply caught me at the wrong time, but for whatever reason I couldn’t get into the film and found it mostly exhausting to sit through.

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Die beste aller Welten [The Best of All Worlds] (2017)

Die beste aller Welten
Director: Adrian Goiginger
Writer: Adrian Goiginger
Cast: Jeremy Miliker, Verena AltenbergerMichael PinkMichael FuithLukas Miko
Seen on: 15.9.2017

Adrian (Jeremy Miliker) lives with his mother Helga (Verena Altenberger) and her boyfriend Günter (Lukas Miko) and things could be great. Unfortunately, Helga and Günter are both drug addicts, making all of their lives much harder. Nevertheless, Helga tries everything in her power to give Adrian the best life she can give him, filled with fantasy and adventure. But it’s clear that things can’t go on the way they are.

With Die beste aller Welten, Goiginger works through his own childhood and in this case, that’s the perfect recipe for a touching, beautiful film, even if it’s a difficult story to tell, especially because it goes as well as it does.

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Sie nannten ihn Spencer [They Called Him Bulldozer] (2017)

Sie nannten ihn Spencer
Director: Karl-Martin Pold
Writer: Karl-Martin Pold
Seen on: 24.8.2017

Marcus and Jorgo are probably the biggest Bud Spencer and Terence Hill fans there are. Both of them have a long-lasting and very emotional connection to their films: Jorgo – who is blind – always listened to them when he was a child. Marcus had a bad accident and the films helped him in his recovery. Marcus and Jorgo meet at a fan event and find kindred spirits in each other. They decide, more or less on a whim, to try and track down Bud Spencer to try and thank him for what he has meant in their lives. It’s a mission that takes them a long time and has them driving through Europe.

I went into this film expecting something different from what I got, but it was an enjoyable, albeit a little lenghty experience nevertheless.

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