Der Kandidat [The Candidate]

Der Kandidat
Director: Georg Schmiedleitner
Writer: Carl Sternheim, Florian Hirsch
Based on: Gustave Flaubert‘s play Le Candidat
Cast: Gregor Bloéb, Bernd Birkhahn, Dietmar König, Petra Morzé, Christina Cervenka, Valentin Postlmayr, Sebastian Wendelin, Florian Teichtmeister, Sabine Haupt
Seen on: 15.11.2018

Plot:
Banker Russek (Gregor Bloéb) decides to go into politics. Not really because he has any convictions, or anything to stand for, really, but because it’s another source of power that he can tap. To ensure his election, Russek asks his daughter Luise (Christina Cervenka) to marry his opponent’s son (Valentin Postlmayr), and his wife (Petra Morzé) takes the chance to push their agenda as well by flirting with journalist Bach (Sebastian Wendelin). With the lawyer Evelyn (Sabine Haupt) as Russek’s spin doctor, there really isn’t anything that can stand in his way.

Der Kandidat is a mixed bag of beans for me. It was entertaining enough, but there were a couple of things that didn’t really work.

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Chips in a Bag (Margaret Kelleher)

Chips in a Bag: Classy Mr. Murray is a novel by Margaret Kelleher.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away.]
Finished on: 14.11.2018

Plot:
Brandon Lodge holds a special place in Clodagh’s heart, even though she hasn’t been back there for many, many years. It was there that she fell in love with James. Not that things ended well for them – ultimately, Clodagh left for London. But now Brandon Lodge is getting revived and Clodagh, a successful knitwear designer, is part of that revival. Coming back to Ireland with her daughter Beth does bring back memories good and bad. But whether it’s a fresh start or a way back to old paths remains to be seen.

Chips in a Bag does have potential, but it would have needed a lot more work to really fulfill it. I found myself often annoyed at both the writing style and some of the tropes, so the book never really got past okay for me.

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Mütter [Mothers]

Mütter
Director: Milena Michalek
Writer: Milena Michalek and the cast
Cast: Claudia Kainberger, Anna Kramer, Alice Peterhans, Daniel Jocic, Karim Taelab, Marwan Taelab, Tarek Taelab
Seen on: 14.11.2018

Plot:
Being a mother and being a woman seems inextricably linked with each other. But what does that mean, exactly? And where does it affect us all? What about having a mother and being a mother and becoming a mother or not? Three women (Claudia Kainberger, Anna Kramer, Alice Peterhans) work their way through several roles and scenarios to figure that out.

Mütter is an interesting, essayistic play that works almost all of the time. It has a lot to say and says it with a sense of humor that I found very refreshing. It’s a really enjoyable play, despite getting stuck at times.

Claudia Kainberger, Anna Kramer and Alice Peterhans in the play.
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Die Stadt ohne Juden [The City Without Jews] (1924) + PHACE

Die Stadt ohne Juden
Director: H.K. Breslauer
Writer: Ida Jenbach, H.K. Breslauer
Based on: Hugo Bettauer‘s novel
Cast: Johannes Riemann, Anny Miletty, Gisela Werbisek, Armin Berg, Hans Moser, Eugen Neufeld, Ferdinand Mayerhofer, Mizi Griebl, Karl Tema, Hans Effenberger
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by PHACE
Seen on: 7.11.2018

Content Note: antisemitism

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.

The film poster showing a drawing of a shadowy figuring in red hovering over a city while a huge mass of people is leaving through the city gate.
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Road to You (Barbara Ankrum)

Road to You is a novel by Barbara Ankrum, the third book in the Band of Brothers series.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away.]
Finished on: 6.11.2018

Plot:
Gemma is a reporter, an investigative journalist. So when she is sent to Marietta, Montana to write a fluff piece about the rise in marriages there, she feels punished. But she knows that she has to deliver or risk her job, so off she goes to do her best regardless. When she meets Noah, who used to be a Navy SEAL together with the groom of the next marriage in Marietta, he seems like a charming, albeit distracting way to get up close and personal with the wedding. But Gemma soon realizes that there is something Noah is hiding. And how can she not try and find out what that is?

Road to You is a nice, quick comfort read. Nothing much will surprise you here, and that’s really not what you want from it anyway. There were a couple of things that didn’t work so well for me, but overall, I enjoyed it.

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Touch Me Not (2018)

Touch Me Not
Director: Adina Pintilie
Writer: Adina Pintilie
Cast: Laura Benson, Tómas Lemarquis, Christian Bayerlein, Grit Uhlemann, Hanna Hofmann, Seani Love, Adina Pintilie
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 6.11.2018
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Plot:
In this mix of fiction and documentary, Laura (Laura Benson), Tómas (Tómas Lemarquis) and Christian (Christian Bayerlein) share their journey of (re-)discovering intimacy, looking for connections and overcoming their fears by finding them.

Touch Me Not is a fantastic film. It’s touching, interesting, smart and full of insights. It’s not only a film about intimacy, it is a film that’s intimate itself, sharing something very valuable.

The film poster showing the upper body of a naked woman, throwing her head back mid-orgasm.
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Diane (2018)

Diane
Director: Kent Jones
Writer: Kent Jones
Cast: Mary Kay Place, Jake Lacy, Estelle Parsons, Andrea Martin, Deirdre O’Connell, Glynnis O’Connor, Joyce Van Patten, Kerry Flanagan, Phyllis Somerville, Celia Keenan-Bolger
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 6.11.2018
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Plot:
Diane (Mary Kay Place) spends most of her time taking care of others, at least when she isn’t trying to connect to her son Brian (Jake Lacy) who has been addicted to drugs for a long time. But she can’t convince him to seek professional help. As she fills her days delivering food here, visiting her cousin Dottie (Deirdre O’Connell) in the hospital, and meeting up with her neighbors, her past keeps catching up with her, though.

Diane starts off well enough, but once we delve a little deeper into Diane’s motivation, the movie did start to annoy me – despite some excellent things about it.

The film poster showing Mary Kay Place lighting a candle.
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Cassandro, the Exotico! (2018)

Cassandro, the Exotico!
Director: Marie Losier
Writer: Antoine Barraud, Marie Losier
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 5.11.2018
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“Plot”:
Saúl Armendáriz has spent over 25 years as the luchador Cassandro el exotico! and he has the body to show for it: aches and metal pins keep him both together and from continuing his career. But it’s not the only reason he finds himself in a difficult position: he is also gay and in the macho world of lucha libre, this is yet another fight – but one that Cassandro seems to have won. Nevertheless, facing the rest of his life, he has to figure out how to deal.

Cassandro the Exotico! is a mediocre documentary about a very interesting subject. Thanks to Cassandro and his charisma, it’s easy to look past the film’s weaknesses and enjoy it.

The film poster showing Cassandro in full Lucha Libre gear.
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Learning How to Drown (Cat Hellisen)

Learning How to Drown is a short story collection by Cat Hellisen.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away.]
Finished on: 5.11.2018

Learning How to drown collects short stories spanning about 10 years of Hellisen’s writing. Each story is shortly commented on by the author. It’s a very nice collection that does make me curious about her novels, too, though I didn’t love it so much that I’m running out to get them right this second. The comments to the stories explained too much and gave too little context for my taste, but the context we did get was interesting. In short, a collection worth reading and I’ll keep my eye out for her novels.

Read more about each of the stories after the jump.

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Las hijas del fuego [The Daughters of Fire] (2018)

Las hijas del fuego
Director: Albertina Carri
Writer: Albertina Carri, Analía Couceyro
Cast: Disturbia Rocío, Violeta Valiente, Rana Rzonscinsky, Ivanna Colona Olsen, Carla Morales Ríos, Erica Rivas, Sofía Gala, Cristina Banegas
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 5.11.2018
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Plot:
Two women on a road trip: one wants to shoot a porn film, the other wants to see her family. They used to be lovers once, now they are again. They pick up a third woman and as they drive through Souther Argentina, they meet more women, discovering themselves and each other through sex, talking and traveling together.

Las hijas del fuego is basically high concept porn. Some parts of it worked for me, others didn’t so much. But it’s an interesting attempt in any case.

The film poster showing a clam in front of a black background, looking like a vulva.
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