A Pure Place (2021)

A Pure Place
Director: Nikias Chryssos
Writer: Nikias Chryssos, Lars Henning Jung
Cast: Sam Louwyck, Greta Bohacek, Claude Heinrich, Daniel Sträßer, Daniel Fripan, Wolfgang Czeczor, Lena Lauzemis, Mariella Josephine Aumann
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) white supremacy, fascism and cults

When they were very small, Irina (Greta Bohacek) and her brother Paul (Claude Heinrich) came into the care of soap producer Fust (Sam Louwyck). That means, they started working in his factory and learned to revere him like a god, always hoping to be pretty and clean enough to make it from below (the factory) to above (his mansion). And it seems that Irina finally gets her chance at a turn in the light when Fust grows tired of one of his followers. Only that this means that Irina has to leave Paul behind.

A Pure Place starts off well enough, with building up the whole setting as a thinly veiled allegory for white supremacy. But then it gets lost in its own story, seems to turn in circles and never reaches a satisfying conclusion. Plus, there were some really problematic elements with regards to Irina and the male gaze that ruined the film for me a little.

The film poster, drawn comic-style, showing Irina (Greta Bohacek) as a greek statue with a snake and a goblet. Behind her we can see Fust (Sam Louwyck), his arms spread wide and his congregation with soap around their necks, some wearing hooded robes. In front of Irina we can see Siegfried (Daniel Sträßer) self-flagellating.
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Egon Schiele: Tod und Mädchen [Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden] (2016)

Egon Schiele: Tod und Mädchen
Director: Dieter Berner
Writer: Hilde Berger, Dieter Berner
Cast: Noah Saavedra, Maresi Riegner, Valerie Pachner, Marie Jung, Larissa Breidbach, Elisabeth Umlauft, Thomas Schubert, Daniel Sträßer, Cornelius Obonya, Michael Kreihsl
Seen on: 7.11.2016

Egon Schiele (Noah Saavedra) and his sister Gerti (Maresi Riegner) are close and she supports him in his art, generally and by posing as a model for his paintings. But Gerti is not the only woman who inspired and supported Egon’s art. Next to Gerti, the most important is Wally (Valerie Pachner) who started out as a model for Gustav Klimt (Cornelius Obonya) and becomes Egon’s biggest love. His mostly nude or half-nude portraits of Wally and other women become a great provocation in Austrian society.

Egon Schiele: Tod und Mädchen is an interesting biopic that gives a good idea of Schiele’s (short) life and work and manages to entertain while it’s at it.

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Der letzte Tanz [The Last Dance] (2014)

Der letzte Tanz
Director: Houchang Allahyari
Writer: Houchang Allahyari, Daniel Kundi, August Staudenmayer
Cast: Daniel Sträßer, Erni MangoldJanina SchauerDoina Weber, Viktor Gernot, Stefano Bernardin, Fritz Karl
Seen on: 16.02.2015

Karl (Daniel Sträßer) is surprisingly arrested one morning, to the horror and surprise of his mother. He won’t say a word, but slowly it becomes clear what happened over the past few months: Having just finished university in Germany, Karl had to start his compulsory civilian service in Vienna, which was scheduled at a geriatric hospital. Shortly before he started, he reconnected with Nathalie (Janina Schauer), an old class mate, and they started dating. But Karl remained distant with pretty much everybody but one of his patients, Julia Ecker (Erni Mangold). And that relationship soon crosses professional boundaries.

Der letzte Tanz takes on a difficult topic and has garnered quite a few awards in Austria, but personally I wasn’t very happy with how they handled it. Both regarding content and regarding style.

letzte-tanz[SPOILERS; Trigger Warning: rape] Continue reading