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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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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Dzikie róze [Wild Roses] (2017)

Dzikie róze
Director: Anna Jadowska
Writer: Anna Jadowska
Cast: Marta Nieradkiewicz, Michal Zurawski, Konrad Skolimowski, Natalia Bartnik, Dominika Biernat, Bartlomiej Firlet, Halina Rasiakówna
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 7.3.2018
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Content note: questionable consent (adult woman/teenaged boy)

Plot:
Ewa (Anna Jadowska) returns home from the hospital. Her mother (Halina Rasiakówna) has been taking care of her children and Ewa quickly settles back into her routine, working in the Wild Roses fields. Shortly after, her husband Andrzej (Michal Zurawski) returns from many months working in Norway. Things are tense between them, especially because Andrzej heard rumors that Ewa had been having an affair with a local teenager, Marcel (Konrad Skolimowski).

Dzikie róze is a well-acted, beautiful film with some problems in the plot department that kept it from being really great. But it’s still worth seeing.

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Princesita (2017)

Princesita (literally: Little Princess)
Director: Marialy Rivas
Writer: Camila Gutiérrez, Manuela Infante, Marialy Rivas
Cast: Sara Caballero, Marcelo Alonso, María Gracia Omegna, Emiliano Jofre
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 7.3.2018
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Content note: rape

Plot:
Tamara (Sara Caballero) lives in a cult led by Miguel (Marcelo Alonso) and Miguel has big plans for her: she is supposed to be the mother of the next generation. First though, she is allowed to go to school outside of the compound she’s been living so far, now that she has turned 12 years old. But that glimpse of life outside is bound to change Tamara – and Miguel certainly can’t have her disobeying his plans.

Princesita is a heavy film – not surprising, given the subject matter. Unfortunately the film doesn’t handle the subject as well as it would have deserved.

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La Holandesa [Messi and Maud] (2017)

La Holandesa
Director: Marleen Jonkman
Writer: Daan Gielis
Cast: Rifka Lodeizen, Guido Pollemans, Cristóbal Farias, Daniel Candia, Yasna Vasquez
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 6.3.2018
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Plot:
Maud (Rifka Lodeizen) and Frank (Guido Pollemans) are traveling in Chile. It is supposed to be a bit of a reset for the two of them, as their relationship has been strained: they have been trying to have a child together, but they have to face the fact that they may not be able to at all. But when Frank confronts Maud head-on with that, they have a fight and Maud just leaves. Going on a road trip, she meets Messi (Cristóbal Farias), a young boy who has nobody to take care of him. Messi starts to accompany Maud on her trip.

I have very mixed feelings about La Holandesa. It’s well made, if a little long, but it’s also very white for a film set in Chile and that left me with a weird taste in my mouth.

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Meditation Park (2017)

Meditation Park
Director: Mina Shum
Writer: Mina Shum
Cast: Pei-Pei Cheng, Tzi Ma, Sandra Oh, Don McKellar, Zak Santiago, Jemmy Chen, Lillian Lim, Alannah Ong, Sharmaine Yeoh
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 6.3.2018
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Plot:
Maria (Pei-Pei Cheng) and Bing (Tzi Ma) have been married for many years and things are fine. That is, until Maria suspects that Bing has been having an affair. As Maria questions her marriage, she starts to question her entire life – and decides to make some changes. She takes up a job, makes friends and goes for a fresh start.

Meditation Park is a Coming of Age story, with the twist that the person coming of age is definitely not a teenager, but a middle-aged to older woman. It’s a spin on the story I very much loved, as I loved the entire film.

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Kosmonautensehnsucht (2016)

Kosmonautensehnsucht [literally: Cosmonaut Longing]
Director: Catharina Göldner
Writer: Catharina Göldner
Cast: Katharina Behrens, Jan Jaroszek, Nadja Stübinger, Moritz Vierboom, Ina Tempel, Alexander Höchst, Ruth Bickelhaupt, Annekatrin Grimm
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2018
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Plot:
Miriam (Katharina Behrens) works as a stage manager in the theater. When it closes over the summer, Miriam has nothing to do but wait that her big love, a cosmonaut, returns to earth. But she’s keeping her waiting and summer becomes really long. And when an astrologist tells her that the cosmonaut isn’t the person for, instead she has to find somebody who was born January 19, 1985 at 3.30am. So Miriam starts looking.

Kosmonautensehnsucht is only 60 minutes long and has absolutely no budget to speak of and yet it manages to be one of the most charming, strong films I’ve seen in a long time. A wonderful little film.

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Sztuka kochania. Historia Michaliny Wislockiej [The Art of Loving. Story of Michalina Wislocka] (2017)

Sztuka kochania
Director: Maria Sadowska
Writer: Krzysztof Rak, Blazej Dzikowski, Krzysztof Bernas, Dominika Hilszczanska
Based on: Violetta Ozminkowski’s novel Michalina Wislocka. Sztuka kochania gorszycielki
Cast: Magdalena Boczarska, Piotr Adamczyk, Eryk Lubos, Dorota Kolak, Justyna Wasilewska, Danuta Stenka, Jasmina Polak
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2018
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Plot:
Michalina Wislocka (Magdalena Boczarska) is a gynaecologist and in her practice, she has seen a lot of problems, a lot of which stem from a lack of knowledge. So she decides to publish a sex education book. But that’s easier said than done in communist Poland, especially with a book that is both frank, includes graphics and focus on female lust and orgasms. But Michalina is a fighter and she won’t take no for an answer.

The Art of Loving is political, feminist and incredibly funny, staying emotionally with its characers while making its points in the most charming way.

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