Erik & Erika (2018)

Erik & Erika
Director: Reinhold Bilgeri
Writer: Dirk Kämper
Cast: Markus Freistätter, Ulrike Beimpold, Lili Epply, Gerhard Liebmann, Cornelius Obonya, Anna Posch, August Schmölzer, Nives Bogad, Harald Schrott, Marianne Sägebrecht, Rainer Wöss
Seen on: 17.3.2018
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Content note: cis and dya fuckery, trans- and intermisia

Plot:
Erik Schinegger (Markus Freistätter) grew up as Erika, always uncomfortable in what society expects of girls and unable to reconcile it with his own wishes. Until he starts skiing – a sport that he really loves. After he wins some big women’s races for Austria, a medical check reveals that he might not be a girl after all as everybody assumed he was – and Erik has to face some questions about his own identity and make some difficult decisions regarding his body and his career.

Look, I know that my plot summary is less than perfect with how it talks about Erik Schinegger, but honestly, it’s the best I could do and still have it have anything to do with the actual film. Because Erik & Erika is a mess and incredibly biologistic, heteronormative and sexist especially for a film that is about a trans and inter guy.

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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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Die unabsichtliche Entführung der Frau Elfriede Ott [The Unintentional Kidnapping of Mrs. Elfriede Ott] (2010)

Die unabsichtliche Entführung der Frau Elfriede Ott
Director: Andreas Prochaska
Writer: Uwe LubrichMichael Ostrowski, Andreas Prochaska, Alfred Schwarzenberger
Cast: Michael Ostrowski, Andreas KiendlElfriede OttGerhard LiebmannAngelika NiedetzkySimon HatzlThomas Mraz
Seen on: 19.8.2017
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Plot:
Toni (Michael Ostrowski) and Horst (Andreas Kiendl) don’t really have much going for themselves. But at least Horst an live cheaply in his grandmother’s apartment. The only trouble is: his grandmother has been dead for a while and if anybody were to find out, his comfortable life would be over. So when he gets a letter from the mayor who wants to congratulate the grandmother on her 100th birthday, Horst and Toni decide to quickly borrow an old woman from the hospital. It just so happens that they manage to take famous actress Elfriede Ott (Elfriede Ott), leading to more trouble than they bargained for.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this movie, but it’s definitely one of those comedies that really don’t work for me. It had its moments here and there, but altogether it falls in the category of “it’s a thing I’ve seen now.”

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Das finstere Tal [The Dark Valley] (2014)

Das finstere Tal
Director: Andreas Prochaska
Writer: Martin Ambrosch, Andreas Prochaska
Based on: Thomas Willmann‘s novel
Cast: Sam Riley, Paula Beer, Tobias Moretti, Thomas Schubert, Carmen Gratl, Clemens Schick, Helmuth Häusler, Martin Leutgeb, Johannes Nikolussi, Florian Brückner, Gerhard Liebmann, Erwin Steinhauer, Hans-Michael Rehberg
Seen on: 22.8.2016

Plot:
A stranger (Sam Riley) arrives in a small village in the mountains. The villagers are suspicious. They don’t know anything about him, they don’t want him or his new-fangled photographic apparatus there. But the stranger who calls himself Greider is not to be dissuaded. He wants to stay over winter. After the six sons of the wealthiest farmer in the village give their okay, Greider is allowed to stay with Luzi (Paula Beer) and her mother (Carmen Gratl). Luzi is about to marry Lukas (Thomas Schubert), but something isn’t quite right there. And it is obvious that Greider has his own motives as well.

The Dark Valley was really successful and got some great reviews, but honestly, I don’t get it. It was boring, confusing where it wasn’t obvious and took some seriously misguided steps in the soundtrack department. Disappointing.

dasfinsteretal[Vague SPOILERS]

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Meine Tochter nicht [Not My Daughter] (2010)

Meine Tochter nicht
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Konstanze Breitebner
Cast: Lisa Martinek, Bernhard Schir, Nikola Rudle, Christopher Schärf, Mercedes Echerer, Karl Fischer, Raimund Wallisch, Max SchmiedlHary Prinz, Gerhard Liebmann, Sissy Höfferer
Seen on: 20.8.2016

Plot:
Maria (Lisa Martinek) and Paul Hofer (Bernhard Schir) have a great life – and a wonderful daughter in Nadja (Nikola Rudle). But shortly after Nadja’s sixteenth birthday, trouble arrives in the form of Nadja’s boyfriend Robi (Christopher Schärf). He is older and obviously from a social background that is nowhere near the Hofer’s lifestyle. But worst of all: Robi takes drugs – and he starts to drag Nadja into his addiction, despite her parents’ desperate attempts to keep her safe.

Meine Tochter nicht comes with a strong cast and hits some notes very accurately, but unfortunately loses almost all points in its resolution of the story and its moralizing tone.

meinetochternicht

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Tag und Nacht [Day and Night] (2010)

Tag und Nacht
Director: Sabine Derflinger
Writer: Sabine Derflinger, Eva Testor
Cast: Anna Rot, Magdalena Kronschläger, Philipp Hochmair, Martina Spitzer, Adrian Topol, Manuel Rubey, Angelika NiedetzkyGerhard Liebmann, Karl Fischer
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 28.2.2016

Plot:
Lea (Anna Rot) and Hanna (Magdalena Kronschläger) have been best friends for a long time. So when Lea comes up with the plan that they could both work as escorts to get some easy money while they study, it’s clear that they can only do it together and that nobody around them will know. Hanna is more reluctant but the two of them start working anyway. It turns out to be quite an adventure, at least initially.

Tag und Nacht is one of many films where young women decide to try sex work and then discover that it might not be all that great, at least in a society that has such an ambivalent relationship with sex work as ours. While the film is well-executed, it felt too familiar for its own good.

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Wenn du wüsstest, wie schön es hier ist [If You Knew How Nice It Is Here] (2015)

Wenn du wüsstest, wie schön es hier ist
Director: Andreas Prochaska
Writer: Stefan Hafner, Thomas Weingartner
Cast: Gerhard Liebmann, Simon Hatzl, Ines Honsel, Branko Samarovski, Philine Schmölzer, Michael Glantschnig
Seen on: 31.8.2015

Plot:
After the death (under suspicious circumstances) of a local girl, police man Hannes Muck (Gerhard Liebmann) has his hands full. Especially when a detective from the state capital (Simon Hatzl) comes to the village to investigate. Muck doesn’t want to believe that one of his own village could be responsible, but he tries his best to clear things up, much to the outrage of the other villagers. Now Muck not only has to find a murderer, but he also has to try and not destroy his entire social network.

Wenn du wüsstest, wie schön es hier ist was produced for (Austrian) TV, which makes it rather remarkable how good it is: it can keep up perfectly well with most productions for the cinema (which is incidentally where I saw it).

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Blutgletscher [The Station] (2013)

Blutgletscher
Director: Marvin Kren
Writer: Benjamin Hessler
Cast: Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic, Brigitte Kren, Hille Beseler, Peter Knaack, Felix Römer, Wolfgang Pampel, Murathan Muslu, Michael Fuith, Adina Vetter, Coco Huemer
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Glazius is a climate monitoring station in the alps. They’re keeping an eye on the glaciers, basically documenting their recline. When Janek (Gerhard Liebmann), the station’s constantly drunk technician, and Falk (Peter Knaack), one of the scientists, discover a red glacier made up of a peculiar, organic substance and Janek soon after sees a very weird looking animal, the climate change quickly becomes the smallest of their worries. Especially since Ecology Minister Bodicek (Brigitte Kren) is approaching with a small delegation.

Blutgletscher is Austria’s first creature feature and as such it is of course a historical movie. But it’s also a really cool movie that works perfectly – right up until the ending.

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Atmen [Breathing] (2011)

Atmen
Director: Karl Markovics
Writer: Karl Markovics
Cast: Thomas Schubert, Karin Lischka, Georg Friedrich, Gerhard Liebmann, Stefan Matousch

Plot:
Roman (Thomas Schubert) is in juvie, and has been there since he was fourteen. Five years later and a possibility for parole comes up, but only if he manages to find a job outside – and hold it for a while. After a few false starts, Roman chooses a job at a morgue where he starts working under supervision. But the upcoming change in his future doesn’t only mean figuring out what’s going to happen, but also coming to grips with his past.

Atmen is an extremely confident and competent debut and a frankly fantastic movie. I’m very impressed, not only with Karl Markovics as a director, but also with Thomas Schubert and the rest of the cast.

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