Willi Forst – Maskerade AKA Masquerade in Vienna (1934)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Review:
“Maskerade” is the second film directed by Willi Forst. While the ‘Vienna film’ had been popular since the early 1930s not least due to Forst’s work as an actor and singer, it was “Maskerade” that brought the genre to a probably never surpassed high point.

The plot, set in Vienna around 1900, seems to be feather-weight at first sight. When a nude drawing of a society lady, made by the artist Heideneck (Adolf Wohlbrück), gets into the newspaper by accident, a near scandal is caused. Heideneck saves his neck by randomly giving the name of an unknown girl as the drawing’s model. However, a romance soon develops between the artist and the girl (Paula Wessely), which causes the jealousy of Heideneck’s former girlfriend Anita (Olga Tschechowa)… Continue reading

Gustav Deutsch – Shirley: Visions of Reality (2013)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Seldom has the idea of a film as a series of tableaux been so literally appropriate as in the latest work from Austrian filmmaker and artist Gustav Deutsch. Shirley – Visions of Reality is a look at the US from the 1930s to the 1960s as seen through a series of micro-stories set in and inspired by paintings by American realist artist Edward Hopper, painstakingly reproduced and reconstructed in a film studio as life-size sets. Each of 13 paintings is used as the setting for moments in the life of a fictional actress, Shirley (Stephanie Cumming), as she moves through life, houses, trips, situations, and milestones of world history taking place in the exact year of creation of each original painting. Continue reading

Ulrich Seidl – Import/Export (2007)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
The case of Josef Fritzl, an outwardly respectable man from Amstetten in Austria who imprisoned and raped his daughter for 24 years in a specially built cellar dungeon, resulted this summer in urgent new critical attention being paid to Austria’s cultural figures warning of a terrible malaise lying beneath their country’s prosperous surface, and that of western Europe generally. In the London Review of Books, Nicholas Spice wrote about Fritzl in relation to Gier, or Greed, the latest novel from Austrian Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek about the murder of a teenage girl by a police officer. Jelinek had written on her website: “Austria is a small world in which the big world holds its rehearsal. The performance takes place in the very much smaller cellar dungeon in Amstetten.” Continue reading

Michael Haneke – Die Rebellion (1993)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Die Rebellion (The Rebellion). 1993. Austria. Directed by Michael Haneke. With its silent-era aesthetic of sepia tones and muted color tints, and its interweaving of realism and fantasy, Haneke’s haunting adaptation of Joseph Roth’s expressionistic 1924 novel is an homage to the great Weimar cinema of G. W. Pabst and F. W. Murnau. In a heartbreaking performance, Branko Samarovski plays Andreas Pum, a soldier who loses his leg during the Great War and becomes an organ-grinder to earn a few coins a day. To this loyal citizen of the State, the veterans and firebrands who march in protest against society’s neglect are lazy, insubordinate “heathens.” But when an ugly tram incident condemns Pum to a life of penury and loneliness, his soul is awakened to the bitter waste of a life spent in duty to God and Empire. In German; 90 min Continue reading

Peter Tscherkassky – Three Short Films (1981-89)

From PT’s website:

Aderlaß is a youthful attempt to process the inheritance of the Vienna Actionists through the use of a super 8 camera. In front of the camera is a performance from Armin Schmickl Sebastiano (Peter Tcherkassky). A game with light and sound that explodes out of the calm into a delirium of movement and finally returns, after the “blood-letting”, to rigidity.

Liebesfilm is an ironic attack on one of the durables of the Hollywood clichés – the film kiss. A short take of mouths approaching each other is shown 522 times. But the kiss never takes place, merely the speed of the movement is continually increased. This excessive repetition of the theme destroys the “happy clarity” that inhabits “the film kiss” myth. Continue reading

Hans-Christof Stenzel – Obszön – Der Fall Peter Herzl (1981)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
Peter Herzl, social worker and Left sympathizer from Wuppertal is, assaulted and robbed on the way back from Yugoslavia to Germany. Due to some misunderstandings the police examined him as a suspected terrorist. In Vienna, he finds shelter with the prostitute Kathi. Kathi has an incestuous relationship with her adolescent daughter. Fascinated she watched her mother and Peter during lovemaking. Soon they would also participate in the game. Meanwhile the search for Peter is at full speed. And Kathi`s pimp sees an opportunity to get easy money by betrayal… Continue reading

Peter Tscherkassky – Tabula rasa (1989)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

From PT’s website:
The target of Tabula Rasa is the heart of cinema. Voyeuristic desire as the pre-condition for all cinema pleasure is at stake here. What Christian Metz and Jacques Lacan have established in theory is rendered as film in Tabula Rasa. At the beginning we can recognize only shadows from which the picture of a woman undressing herself hesitantly emerges. But exactly at the point when one believes one can make out what it is, the camera is located in front of the object. Tabula Rasa takes distance, the fundamental principle of voyeurism, in so far literally, as it shows us the object of desire but continually removes it from our gaze. Continue reading