Die Migrantigen [The Migrumpies] (2017)

Die Migrantigen
Director: Arman T. Riahi
Writer: Aleksandar Petrovic, Faris Rahoma, Arman T. Riahi
Cast: Aleksandar Petrovic, Faris Rahoma, Doris Schretzmayer, Zijah Sokolovic, Daniela Zacherl, Josef Hader, Mehmet Ali Salman, Julia Jelinek, Maddalena Hirschal, Margarete Tiesel, Dirk Stermann, Mahir Jahmal, Rainer Wöss, Brigitte Kren
Seen on: 5.7.2017
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Plot:
Benny (Faris Rahoma) and Marko (Aleksandar Petrovic) have been best friends for about forever and both find themselves struggling: Benny would like to make it as an actor, but has had no luck so far, mostly because he’s usually reduced to small roles due to his darker skin. And Marko’s ad agency just went bust – and his girlfriend Sophie (Daniela Zacherl) is expecting their first child. As they try to figure out what to do, an opportunity falls into their lap in the shape of Marlene (Doris Schretzmayer), a TV reporter looking to do a hot take on immigrants in Vienna. Just for the heck of it Benny and Marko – who actually do have migration roots – turn into Omar Sharif and Tito to give Marlene all the clichés about immigrants roled into a neat little package. But when Marlene returns with the offer to do an entire reality TV show about them, the two find themselves trapped in their performance and enticed by the money and acting break it would mean for them.

Die Migrantigen is an entertaining film that nails quite a few very problematic things about the discourse on migrants in Austria in a very revealing, yet light-hearted way. Sometimes it’s a little too easy and sometimes its ideas are better than the execution, but mostly, it’s very enjoyable.

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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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Vor der Morgenröte [Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe] (2016)

Vor der Morgenröte
Director: Maria Schrader
Writer: Maria Schrader, Jan Schomburg
Cast: Josef Hader, Aenne SchwarzBarbara SukowaMatthias BrandtCharly HübnerTómas LemarquisLenn KudrjawizkiHarvey FriedmanNicolau BreynerIvan ShvedoffAndré SzymanskiValerie PachnerDaniel Puente Encina
Seen on: 16.6.2016

Plot:
Stefan Zweig (Josef Hader) is a successful writer of wide renown. As an Austrian Jew, he decided to leave Europe behind after Hitler’s rise to power and now lives in Brazil with his wife Lotte (Aenne Schwarz). But the political situation in Europe follows him even into his exile, as people all seem to expect something of him, a statement, taking position, outright help – and Zweig really doesn’t know how to handle this pressure as his attempts to distance himself from everything continue to fail.

Vor der Morgenröte captures an awkward, uncomfortable atmosphere perfectly and tells a World War 2 story from a perspective that is unusual, and definitely fascinating.

vordermorgenroete

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Das ewige Leben [Life Eternal] (2015)

Das ewige Leben
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Wolfgang Murnberger, Josef Hader, Wolf Haas
Based on: Wolf Haas‘ novel
Sequel to: Komm, süßer Tod, Silentium, Der Knochenmann
Cast: Josef Hader, Tobias Moretti, Nora von Waldstätten, Christopher Schärf, Roland Düringer, Margarete Tiesel, Johannes Silberschneider, Hary Prinz, Sasa Barbul
Seen on: 18.8.2015

Plot:
Simon Brenner (Josef Hader) should retire. Problem is: with his precarious employment situation in his past, he doesn’t have the necessary insurance coverage to do so. All he owns is his grandfather’s house in Styria that is slowly falling to pieces because Simon swore never to go back there. But now he has no choice. Returning to the house, though, also means returning to his past, in the shape of his old friends Köck (Roland Düringer) and Aschenbrenner (Tobias Moretti). Their relationships are strained, events from the past still have their echoes in the present and to round things off, Brenner’s migraines are getting increasingly worse. But Brenner being Brenner, he can’t just leave things be.

Das ewige Leben is the last Brenner movie (so far) and also the strongest of the four films. It looks good, it’s funny, but it also doesn’t pull any punches and the cast is excellent. It’s not flawless, but it gets closer than any of the films that came before in the series.

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Der Knochenmann [The Bone Man] (2009)

Der Knochenmann
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Wolfgang Murnberger, Josef Hader, Wolf Haas
Based on: Wolf Haas‘ novel
Sequel to: Komm, süßer Tod, Silentium
Cast: Josef Hader, Josef BierbichlerBirgit MinichmayrChristoph LuserPia HierzeggerSimon SchwarzDorka GryllusStipe ErcegIvan Shvedoff
Seen on: 13.8.2015

Plot:
Simon Brenner (Josef Hader) is getting by. With the help of Berti (Simon Schwarz) he can earn a little money by repossessing things. When Berti sends him to find a guy and his car, Brenner ends up at an inn in the middle of nowhere looking for him. The guy’s car is there, but nobody admits to knowing him. Sufficiently intrigued by circumstances and with nowhere else to go, Brenner decides to stay for a bit. Despite the foreboding presence of owner Löschenkohl (Josef Bierbichler) whose daughter in law Birgit (Birgit Minichmayr) may have something to do with Brenner’s interest. But a missing guy is only the beginning of the weird events at the Löschenkohl inn.

While the Brenner movies continue their increasing technical proficiency here, regarding plot and script Der Knochenmann is the weakest movie in the series so far.

knochenmann

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Silentium (2004)

Silentium
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Wolfgang Murnberger, Josef Hader, Wolf Haas
Based on: Wolf Haas‘ novel
Sequel to: Komm, süßer Tod
Cast: Josef Hader, Simon Schwarz, Joachim Król, Maria Köstlinger, Udo Samel, Jürgen Tarrach, Rosie Alvarez, Georg Friedrich, Johannes Silberschneider, Karl Fischer, Herbert Fux, Dirk Stermann, Christoph Schlingensief, Wolf Haas
Seen on: 23.7.2015

Plot:
Simon Brenner (Josef Hader) now lives in Salzburg where he barely gets by with occasional jobs, the most recent of which – store detective – he promptly loses when he accuses the daughter of the director of the Salzburger Festspiele, Konstanze (Maria Köstlinger). Never mind that he was right. But Konstanze and Brenner are not done with each other yet: Konstanze’s husband recently died, believed to be a suicide. But Konstanze is sure that he was murdered because he spoke up about the sexual abuse he suffered from catholic priests when he was a child. She asks Brenner to investigate. Brenner agrees, going about it in his own very idiosyncratic way and uncovering much more than he bargained for.

Silentium is an improvement on the first film in the series in pretty much every aspect, except maybe acting and sense of humor which were already great in the first film and are equally great now. I enjoyed it a lot.

silentium

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: Komm, süßer Tod [Come, Sweet Death] (2000)

Komm, süßer Tod
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Wolf HaasJosef Hader, Wolfgang Murnberger
Based on: Wolf Haasnovel
Cast: Josef Hader, Simon Schwarz, Barbara Rudnik, Michael Schönborn, Bernd Michael Lade, Nina Proll, Karl Markovics, Reinhard Nowak
Seen on: 13.7.2015

Plot:
Simon Brenner (Josef Hader) used to be a police man, but after a, let’s call it a disagreement with his boss, he lost his job and now works as an ambulance driver together with Berti (Simon Schwarz). Brenner is not a very ambitious person and has settled in that life. But when a nurse and a doctor are murdered, and shortly afterwards one of his colleagues and another colleague is accused of the crime, his routine gets shaken up and Brenner finds himself investigating, rather in spite of himself.

Komm, süßer Tod has an excellent sense of humor and an interesting crime story, so it’s not surprising that it was the start to probably Austria’s most successful cinema series, even though from a film-making perspective it’s actually quite abysmal.

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Wie man leben soll [The Way to Live] (2011)

Wie man leben soll
Director: David Schalko
Writer: David Schalko, Thomas Maurer
Based on: Thomas Glavinic‘ novel
Cast: Axel Ranisch, Robert Stadlober, Thomas Stipsits, Marion Mitterhammer, Bibiana Zeller, Josef Hader, Emily Cox, David Wurawa, Michael Ostrowski, Lukas Resetarits, Robert Palfrader, Thomas Müller, Thomas Maurer, Elisabeth Engstler, Armin Wolf, Roberto Blanco, Oliver Baier

Plot:
Charlie Kolostrum (Axel Ranisch) is a “sitter”, according to one of his self-help books. Not a doer, but one of the people who sit around waiting for things to happen. So he sits through school where he is in love with his girlfriend’s (Stefanie Reinsperger) best friend (Katharina Strasser), mostly ignored by his mother (Marion Mitterhammer) and overfed by his aunt (Bibiana Zeller). And then he sits through university, where he studies Art History [not because he has a particular interest but because according to the study adviser (Michael Ostrowski) is has the prettiest women – and that’s everything Charlie can muster some kind of enthusiasm]. Dividing his time between uni and his membership in the socialist students union the years pass.

Wie man leben soll is by no means a bad movie but I didn’t really like it a whole lot because I just couldn’t stand Charlie. But despite that the film had its moments.

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