Rimini (2022)

Rimini
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Writer: Veronika Franz, Ulrich Seidl
Cast: Michael Thomas, Tessa Göttlicher, Hans-Michael Rehberg, Inge Maux, Claudia Martini, Georg Friedrich
Seen on: 23.4.2022

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism, fascism

Plot:
Richie Bravo (Michael Thomas) is a “schlager” singer whose heyday has long been over. He lives in Rimini now where he barely gets by with performances for busloads of German-speaking tourists, the occasional sex work and renting out his house to fans while he himself goes to stay in a shabby room in one of the many hotels that are empty for winter. When his estranged daughter Tessa (Tessa Göttlicher) shows up to demand money from him, Richie needs all his (more or less sleazy) survival skills to comply with her request.

Rimini is a typical Seidl movie in a way, but there is an almost optimistic note at the end of the film that is rather untypical. In any case, it’s the portrait of a sleazy man that spares nothing, as it is the portrait of a tourist town without tourists.

The film poster showing Richie Bravo (Michael Thomas) performing on an empty stage in front of a glitter curtain.
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Große Freiheit [Great Freedom] (2021)

Große Freiheit
Director: Sebastian Meise
Writer: Sebastian Meise, Thomas Reider
Cast: Franz Rogowski, Georg Friedrich, Anton von Lucke, Thomas Prenn
Seen on: 19.12.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia

Plot:
It’s the 60s and Hans (Franz Rogowski) is once more arrested and imprisoned for “sexual deviancy”, for having sex with other men. It’s not the first time, and back in prison, he quickly settles into the routine when he sees two familiar faces. One is Leo (Anton von Lucke), one of the men Hans had sex with, a young teacher utterly lost in prison life. The other is Viktor (Georg Friedrich) with whom Hans shares a long history, and a connection that runs deep – and becomes deeper still.

Große Freiheit is a sensitive film with great performances about a horrific part of (German) legal history. And it’s also a beautiful love story.

The film poster showing Hans (Franz Rogowski) desperately holding on to Viktor (Georg Friedrich).
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Kaviar [Caviar] (2019)

Kaviar
Director: Elena Tikhonova
Writer: Robert Buchschwenter, Elena Tikhonova
Cast: Margarita Breitkreiz, Darya Nosik, Sabrina Reiter, Georg Friedrich, Simon Schwarz, Mikhail Evlanov, Joseph Lorenz, Robert Finster
Seen on: 20.10.2021 (somehow missed to review this one)

Plot:
Nadja (Margarita Breitkreiz) works as the personal translator and all around organizer for Igor (Mikhail Evlanov), giving her in-depth knowledge of his dealings, little of which is actually legal. Nadja doesn’t really like it, but she has two kids and not that many options. When Igor hatches a new plan though – buying the Schwedenbrücke in Vienna (a bridge in the city center) to build an estate on – this is easier said than done, even in Vienna where people are willing to be very flexible for profit. Enter Klaus (Georg Friedrich), the husband of Nadja’s best friend Vera (Darya Nosik). Klaus has been waiting for an opportunity to make a deal or two with Igor and is sure that he can provide the necessary connections. The money that needs to change hands does give Nadja, Vera and Nadja’s nanny Teresa (Sabrina Reiter) an idea, though. Maybe this time it is them who get to be rich.

Kaviar is an entertaining film that makes fun of both Russian and (and even more so) Austrian business men. With its feminist undertones and its perfect political timing, it’s certainly a film to see.

The film poster showing Nadja (Margarita Breitkreiz) biting her lip, with Vera (Darya Nosik) and Teresa (Sabrina Reiter) behind her. Below them are Ferdinand (Simon Schwarz), Igor (Mikhail Evlanov) and Klaus (Georg Friedrich) toasting with champagne and a suitcase full of cash.
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Fallen [Falling] (2006)

Fallen
Director: Barbara Albert
Writer: Barbara Albert
Cast: Nina Proll, Birgit Minichmayr, Kathrin Resetarits, Ursula Strauss, Gabriela Hegedüs, Ina Strnad, Georg Friedrich, Darina Dujmic, Angelika Niedetzky
Seen on: 19.1.2021

Plot:
At the funeral of their former high school teacher, Alex (Ursula Strauss), Brigitte (Birgit Minichmayr), Nina (Nina Proll), Nicole (Gabriela Hegedüs) and Carmen (Kathrin Resetarits) meet each other again for the first time in years. Apart from Brigitte, they all moved away from their home town and haven’t been back in a long time. Caught in a wave of reminiscence, they are loath to part after the funeral is over and instead take to exploring the area again, accompanied by Nicole’s daughter Daphne (Ina Strnad). But the trip to the past isn’t always pleasant and their relationships aren’t without tension.

Fallen is a fantastic film that explores the complex relationships of these women, brought together by circumstances in the past and in the present, but no less meaningful for that. I really loved it.

The film poster showing Alex (Ursula Strauss), Brigitte (Birgit Minichmayr), Nina (Nina Proll), Nicole (Gabriela Hegedüs) and Carmen (Kathrin Resetarits), all dressed in black with their arms spread wide, their hair blowing in the wind, at the edge of a hill.
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Nichts zu verlieren (2018)

Nichts zu verlieren (literally: Nothing to lose)
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Ruth Toma, Wolfgang Murnberger
Cast: Georg Friedrich, Christopher Schärf, Marcel Mohab, Susanne Wolff, Johanna Gastdorf, Lisa Wagner, Emily Cox, Michael A. Grimm
Seen on: 27.12.2018
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Plot:
Richy (Georg Friedrich), Tom (Christopher Schärf) and Charly (Marcel Mohab) have a plan: they will break into a famous artist’s house, empty his safe and then they’ll be rich. But things don’t go as planned. In fact, pretty much everything that can go wrong, does go wrong and Richy finds himself injured and looking for an escape with Tom, while Charly gets left behind. Out of options, Richy and Tom kidnap a bus, including the people riding on it, to get away from both the police and Charly. But their victims appear surprisingly disinterested in their fate: it turns out they are all on a “grief tour”, trying to work through the recent loss of a loved one.

I probably wouldn’t have watched Nichts zu verlieren if it wasn’t for Georg Friedrich (and to a lesser extent Christopher Schärf). The film just looked a little too much like a shallow comedy for my taste. While that impression wasn’t wrong, the film wasn’t bad and did manage to make me laugh a couple of times.

The film poster showing a bus on a meadow and Richy (Georg Friedrich) and Tom (Christopher Schärf) standing in front of it with nonplussed expressions.
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Aloys (2016)

Aloys
Director: Tobias Nölle
Writer: Tobias Nölle
Cast: Georg Friedrich, Tilde von Overbeck, Kamil Krejcí, Yufei Li, Koi Lee, Karl Friedrich
Seen on: 14.12.2017
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Plot:
Aloys (Georg Friedrich) is a private detective. He works with his father (Karl Friedrich). Or rather he used to as his father suddenly dies. Aloys having already been a withdrawn person who spends his time recording and watching surveillance tapes, his father’s death severs the last real human connection he has. After getting drunk one night, he wakes up on a public bus with his camera and tapes stolen. Shortly after he gets a call from a woman who blackmails him. She has his things, but she will only give them back if he tries “telephone walking” with her: she guides him on a fantasy walk with her voice over the phone.

Aloys was not uninteresting but it didn’t manage to really win me over, I’m afraid. It is too slow in the beginning and I’m not sure that it realizes just how creepy Aloys actually is.

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Helle Nächte [Bright Nights] (2017)

Helle Nächte
Director: Thomas Arslan
Writer: Thomas Arslan
Cast: Georg Friedrich, Tristan Göbel, Marie Leuenberger, Hanna Karlberg
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 22.10.2017
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Plot:
Michael’s (Georg Friedrich) estranged father recently died in Norway. Michael has to go there to take care of things and decides to take his own son Luis (Tristan Göbel) with him. Luis lives with his mother and he and Michael don’t get along all that well, either. For Michael, this trip and the ensuing drive across Norway is supposed to be a chance for the two of them to connect. For Luis, it’s less clear what he wants from his father and this trip.

Helle Nächte doesn’t tell a very new story, but it tells it well. It wasn’t the film I was most emotionally invested in, but I enjoyed it.

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Wilde Maus [Wild Mouse] (2017)

Wilde Maus
Director: Josef Hader
Writer: Josef Hader
Cast: Josef Hader, Pia Hierzegger, Jörg Hartmann, Georg Friedrich, Denis Moschitto, Crina Semciuc, Nora von Waldstätten, Maria Hofstätter, Murathan Muslu
Seen on: 21.2.2017

Plot:
Georg (Josef Hader) has worked as a critic of classical music for decades, but with budget cuts hitting media outlets, he is fired. When it happens, he finds he can’t tell his wife Johanna (Pia Hierzegger) who is hoping to become pregnant despite being over 40 already. So Georg pretends to go to work every day and instead finds himself in the Prater, Vienna’s big amusement park. There he runs into Erich (Georg Friedrich). Despite their differences, the two start to spend a lot of time together, starting to renovate an old rollercoaster. But Georg is also set on taking revenge on his former boss Waller (Jörg Hartmann).

Wilde Maus is a dry and very black comedy that makes you laugh more often than it’s actually funny. It could have stood more female voices, but I did enjoy it.

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Hotel Rock’n’Roll (2016)

Hotel Rock’n’Roll
Director: Helmut Köpping, Michael Ostrowski
Writer: Michael Glawogger, Michael Ostrowski
Sequel to: Nacktschnecken, Contact High
Cast: Michael Ostrowski, Pia Hierzegger, Gerald Votava, Georg Friedrich, Detlev Buck, Hilde Dalik, Johannes Zeiler, Jayney Klimek, Helmut Köpping
Seen on: 3.9.2016

Plot:
Mao (Pia Hierzegger) inherited an old hotel from her uncle and decides to run it together with her friends and band mates Max (Michael Ostrowski) and Jerry (Gerald Votava). They want to make it a hotel with a rock theme and lifestyle. Meanwhile Schorsch (Georg Friedrich) just happens to crash into the hotel pond after robbing a bank, which brings Schorsch’s business partner Harry (Detlev Buck) to the hotel. Since Harry owns a big hotel in the area, he would like nothing more than to take over the hotel from Mao, but she won’t give up that easily, despite everything.

Hotel Rock’n’Roll was entertaining and fun. Although it didn’t manage to blow me away, it definitely had its moments.

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Contact High (2009)

Contact High
Director: Michael Glawogger
Writer: Michael Glawogger, Michael Ostrowski
Sequel to: Nacktschnecken
Cast: Michael Ostrowski, Raimund WallischPia Hierzegger, Georg Friedrich, Detlev BuckHilde Dalik, Alina Pölzl, Jeremy Strong, Anna Frances Dioso
Seen on: 15.8.2016

Plot:
A spanish drugdealer forgot a bag in Poland, so he asks his partner/employee Harry (Detlev Buck) who works in Vienna to retrieve it for him. Harry passes on the job to Schorsch (Georg Friedrich) who in turn asks Mao (Pia Hierzegger) because he wants to watch the 24 hour Le Mans race. But Mao has to babysit, so she sends Max (Michael Ostrowski) and Johann (Raimund Wallisch) to do it instead. But those two can’t necessarily be trusted, and Harry is anxious to see the bag home safe and sound. While Max and Johann think of the entire thing as a nice adventure and an excellent opportunity to make some much-needed cash, Harry convinces Schorsch to follow them and make sure that they fulfill their mission.

Contact High is often funny and sometimes stronger than Nacktschnecken, but for the most part it’s clearly weaker.

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