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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Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch? [Are You Sleeping, Brother Jakob?] (2018)

Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch?
Director: Stefan Bohun
Writer: David Bohun, Johannes Bohun, Stefan Bohun
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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Content Note: Suicide

“Plot”:
Matthias, Johannes, Stefan and David are brothers. There used to be a fifth one, Jakob, but he killed himself. Now the four remaining brothers are on a hiking trip together in the mountains where Jakob always felt at home. They use it as both a chance to talk about Jakob and to get closer to each other again.

Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch is a touching documentary and a gift from the filmmakers to share their very private process of grieving with the world. It’s beautiful.

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Anomalie [Anomaly] (2018)

Anomalie
Director: Richard Wilhelmer
Writer: Daniel Haingartner, Richard Wilhelmer
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
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“Plot”:
Anomalie looks at the lines we draw between sane and insane and how blurry it actually is. Following Fritz Joachim Rudert, a homeless man with experiences as a patient in psychiatric wards, to his participation in the German anti-psychiatry movement, the film asks how we as a society decide about the standards and norms that we accept as true – and whether our reaction to deviations from those norms is as it should be.

Anomalie picked a very interesting topic for a documentary and tries to come at it from many angles – too many at times, maybe. Even if I would draw some conclusions differently than the film appears to, I was fascinated from beginning to end.

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★ (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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