Mein Fleisch und Blut [Place of Shelter] (2016)

Mein Fleisch und Blut [literally: My Flesh and Blood]
Director: Michael Ramsauer
Writer: Michael Ramsauer
Cast: Ursula Strauss, Andreas Kiendl, Lili Epply, Wolfgang Rauh, Nikolai Klinkosch, Hary Prinz
Seen on: 5.10.2016

Plot:
Katharina (Ursula Strauss) and Martin (Andreas Kiendl) adopted their son Tobias (Nikolai Klinkosch) when he was just a baby and now most of their live revolves around giving him the best home they possibly can and maybe try and figure out whether he actually is on the autistic spectrum. Since Tobias lives in his own world a little bit, it comes as a welcome surprise to Katharina and Martin when their new neighbors, the young nurse Nicole (Lily Epply) and her boyfriend Christian (Wolfgang Rauh), immediately get along with Tobias. But it doesn’t take long until Martin suspects that there is something going on with the young couple.

Mein Fleisch und Blut is a decent thriller, but it also comes with a few problems and some overused tropes which meant that I couldn’t really get into it.

[SPOILERS]

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Maikäfer flieg [Fly Away Home] (2016)

Maikäfer flieg
Director: Mirjam Unger
Writer: Sandra Bohle, Mirjam Unger
Based on: Christine Nöstlinger’s autobiographical novel
Cast: Zita Gaier, Ursula Strauss, Gerald Votava, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Krista Stadler, Heinz Marecek, Paula Brunner
Seen on: 21.3.2016

Plot:
World War II. 8-year-old Christl (Zita Gaier) spends a lot of time with her grandparents (Krista Stadler, Heinz Marecek) as her mother (Ursula Strauss) is hunting for food and necessities in Vienna. Her father (Gerald Votava) is fighting. Or rather, he is in the hospital with a shot up leg. As the bombings in the city get worse and the grandparents’ apartment is damaged, Christl’s mother hatches a plan to head to a house at the city’s edge where she used to clean. The owner of said house has fled and needs somebody to take care of it anyway. So, Christl, her sister (Paula Brunner) and her mother make their way there, leaving behind her grandparents who are unwilling to move.

Maikäfer flieg is a well-made film and an excellent adaptation of Nöstlinger’s novel. I enjoyed it a lot.

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Michael (2011)

Michael is the first film written and directed by Markus Schleinzer, starring Michael Fuith, David Rauchenberger and Ursula Strauss.

Plot:
Michael (Michael Fuith) leads a rather normal, if slightly withdrawn life. Apart from Wolfgang (David Rauchenberger), the 10-year-old boy who lives locked up in his basement. The movie chronicles a few months out of their lives together.

Ugh. Pedophilia is never an easy subject and Michael is a hard movie. It’s calm and collected and damn ugly. It is also very well made and effective. But it’s not really a film you can like.

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Mein bester Feind [My Best Enemy] (2011)

Mein bester Feind is Wolfgang Murnberger‘s newest film, starring Moritz Bleibtreu, Georg Friedrich and Ursula Strauss.

Plot:
Victor Kaufmann (Moritz Bleibtreu) has it all: he’s working in his parents’ well-regarded art gallery, he has a nice fiancée, Lena (Ursula Strauss) and his best friend with whom he basically grew up, Rudi (Georg Friedrich) has finally returned from a longer stay in Germany. Unfortunately, it’s also 1938 in Vienna and Victor is Jewish. When the nazis take over – and Rudi joins the SS – the Kaufmanns quickly lose everything. Among their possessions is a real Michelangelo which is coveted by the Nazis. But through some twists and turns, the real Michelangelo can be hidden and Victor makes Rudi swap places with him.

Mein bester Feind has a brilliant main cast and is well-paced, but that’s about it. The story itself focusses on the wrong things and is mostly… meh and there are so many wooden performances in the supporting cast, it could keep a middle-sized carpentry well-supplied for a year.

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Vielleicht in einem anderen Leben [In Another Lifetime] (2010)

Vielleicht in einem anderen Leben is Elisabeth Scharang‘s adaptation of Silke Hassler‘s [link is German] and Peter Turrini‘s play [they’ve also written the script), starring Ursula Strauss, Johannes Krisch, Péter Végh, Orsolya Tóth and Franziska Singer.

Plot:
April 1945: a group of Hungarian Jews is led through an Austrian village. They are supposed to go to Mauthausen, but stop in the village for a few days. There they are locked into the Fasching’s barn. Mrs Fasching (Ursula Strauss) and her Farmhand Poldi (Franziska Singer) take pity on the locked up Jews and bring them food and water. Among the prisoners is Lou Gandolf (Péter Végh), an opera singer. He offers to mount an operetta as a thank you for Mrs Fasching, which doesn’t sit too well with Mr Fasching (Johannes Krisch) or the rest of the village.

Vielleicht in einem anderen Leben is one of those movies you wish weren’t that good. It’s excellently played and well-written. Also, it’s like a slap in the face.

[Slightly SPOILERy]

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Revanche (2008)

Revanche (in English: Revenge) is the new movie by Götz Spielmann. It’s nominated for the Foreign Language Oscar. [Yay! Go Austria!]

Plot:
Alex (Johannes Krisch) works as a bouncer/guy for everything in a brothel in Vienna. He’s in love with one of the prostitutes, Ukranian immigrant Tamara (Irina Potapenko) and she with him. When things go bad with the owner of the brothel (Hanno Pöschl), because Tamara declines a “promotion”, they decide to run away. To get the  money necessary for that, Alex decides to rob a bank, which ultimately connects his life to the lives of police man Robert (Andreas Lust), his wife Susanne (Ursula Strauss) and Alex’ grandfather (Johannes Thanheiser).

The movie is rather slow and very intense. It has a wonderful cinematography. And the cast is mostly very good. It could have been a bit shorter, though.

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[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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