Life Guidance (2017)

Life Guidance
Writer: Ruth Mader
Director: Martin Leidenfrost, Ruth Mader
Cast: Fritz Karl, Katharina Lorenz, Florian Teichtmeister, Nicolas Jarosch, Petra Morzé, Udo Samel, Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, Johann Adam Oest
Seen on: 22.1.2018

Alexander (Fritz Karl) is married to Anna (Katharina Lorenz). They have a son (Nicolas Jarosch) and by the looks of it, their life is pretty much perfect. But then Alexander says something that worries Life Guidance, the organisation in charge of helping people living the best life they can possibly live. They send in their agent, Gregor (Florian Teichtmeister), to make sure that Alexander stays on track.

I wanted to like Life Guidance – being an Austrian Science Fiction film made by a woman – much more than I actually did. While it has strong parts, it just doesn’t come together as it should.

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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.

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Polt. (2013)

Polt. [link’s in German]
Director: Julian Pölsler
Writer: Julian Pölsler
Based on: Alfred Komarek‘s [link’s in German] novel
Sequel to: Polt muss weinen, Blumen für Polt, Himmel Polt und Hölle, Polterabend
Cast: Erwin Steinhauer, Fritz Karl, Tatjana Alexander, Simon Schwarz, Elisabeth Orth, Karin Kienzer, Michou Friesz, Cornelius Obonya, Hans-Michael Rehberg

Simon Polt (Erwin Steinhauer) used to be a police man but he gave that up to live in a small village surrounded by vineyards and working at the local grocery store. His only remaining contact to the police is his friend Norbert Sailer (Fritz Karl). And then one night Simon and Norbert find a body in Norbert’s vineyard and Simon’s retired life is over.

Polt. did surprise me. It’s a made for TV, Austrian crime movie – and those are usually things that are a dangerous combination for the quality of any movie. But it turns out that Polt. is a beautifully shot, slow film with a great cast.


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Black Brown White (2011)

Black Brown White is the first fiction film by Erwin Wagenhofer and stars Fritz Karl, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Theo Caleb Chapman, Karl Markovics and Wotan Wilke Möhring.

Don Pedro (Fritz Karl) is a truck driver. Together with his friend Jimmy (Karl Markovics) he has a company that ships vegetables across Europe and to North Africa. To fatten up the budget a little bit, they also bring fugitives from Africa to Europe. On the current trip, there’s a young woman, Jackie (Clare-Hope Ashitey) and her son Theo (Theo Caleb Chapman) who refuse to be treated as the other fugitives, locked in a hidden compartment in the truck. Against his better judgment, Don Pedro goes along with her request and together they make their way to Europe.

Black Brown White has a good cast, awesome cinematography and good characters. The story would have been sufficiently layered, but its constant attempts to educate the viewer are too annoying for its own good. But I guess if you like your films with a healthy dose of finger-wagging, this is for you.

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