Austria

Ulrich Seidl – Der Busenfreund AKA The Bosom Friend (1997)

A 1997 TV film. Two descriptions:

“Main character of this movie is Rene Rupnik, a former math teacher. He is forty years old and lives together with his mother in a desolate block of flats. Ever since his early youth women with big breasts have fascinated him, because they symbolise a kind of earth mother to him. He has never had an especially close relationship with his own mother; she was too ‘bony’ for him. Object of Rene’s fantasy is the actress Senta Berger, to him everything a woman should be. Standing by the blackboard and explaining the mathematical laws of sine and cosine (‘sinus’ is bosom in Latin), Rene sings the praises of the female curves and those of Santa Berger in particular. Filmmaker Ulrich Seidl let the former teacher speak freely about his obsessions and desires, intercutting his monologues with scenes from the protagonist’s day-to-day life.” Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – Klimt [Director’s Cut] (2006)

Synopsis
Ruiz, in an a propos to the film: ‘Above all this film should not be seen as a biography of the painter Gustav Klimt (what these days we call a ‘biopic’). It is indeed a fantasy or, if you prefer, a phantasmagoria, a fresco of real and imaginary characters revolving around a single point of focus: the painter Klimt. You see images in the film as if it were Klimt himself who is seeing them. Or rather who is dreaming them. Because this film will be a daydream: exuberance of colours, distortion of space, extreme complexity of camera movements. It would take too long to explain the processes I intend to use in order to record this era, one of the richest, most contradictory and most disturbing in the history of humanity.’ Read More »

Peter Tscherkassky – Outer Space (1999)

A premonition of a horror film, lurking danger: A house – at night, slightly tilted in the camera’s view, eerily lit – surfaces from the pitch black, then sinks back into it again. A young woman begins to move slowly towards the building. She enters it. The film cuts crackle, the sound track grates, suppressed, smothered. Found footage from Hollywood forms the basis for the film. The figure who creeps through the images, who is thrown around by them and who attacks them is Barbara Hershey. Tscherkassky’s dramatic frame by frame re-cycling, re-copying and new exposure of the material, folds the images and the rooms into each other. Read More »

John Cook – Ich Schaff’s Einfach Nimmer AKA I Just Can’t Go On (1973)

“John Cook found the subject of his first documentary in front of his doorstep. In order to pierce the heart of reality you do not need the largest bow – the protagonists and their story are simply too stimulating to pass them by. The janitor Gisi and Petrus – half her age, a gypsy , boxer and delinquent – are an unusual couple of the film , surrounded by a bunch of children . Today we would say that “I Just Can’t Go On” is a film about about precarity . It might be more precise to gescribe Gisi and Petrus as belonging to the class of the “outsiders” who at the margins of society build an enclave constantly threatened to tumble . Gisi works to her limit ; she cleans the house during the day and takes care of the children in the evening . Petrus shifts between energy-sapping occasional jobs and his boxing training , none of which he ever finishes successfully . Read More »

Johannes Holzhausen – Das große Museum AKA The Great Museum (2014)

Quote:
The documentary THE GREAT MUSEUM is a curious, witty and humorous peek behind the scenes at a world-famous cultural institution. Director Johannes Holzhausen and his team spent more than two years gathering material at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Shot in the attentive style of direct cinema – with no off-screen commentary, no interviews and no background music – the film observes the various processes involved in creating a perfect setting for art. From the managing director to the cleaning services team, from the carriers to the art historians, the staff members at the museum are all interdependent cogs in the same machine. Read More »

Peter Schreiner – Lampedusa (2016)

Synopsis
As the most southern island off the coast of Italy, Lampedusa is relatively close to Africa. This is where Zakaria got stranded – a Somali journalist who fled his country because of the war. He escaped that, but on Lampedusa he wrestles with fears and existential questions. Here he meets Giulia, an ageing woman facing a personal crisis on the same island. Together and separately, they try to get a grip on life. Read More »

Peter Schreiner – Fata Morgana (2013)

Synopsis
Austrian experimental documentary maker Peter Schreiner undertakes a psychoanalytic quest for human existence. It’s a cross between Freud and Sartre, magical and minimalist, as long as you dare.
Two wrinkled lovers, marked by life, expose their deepest inner emotions. Giuliana compares the vaults of her spirit with closed doors that you ‘have to open cautiously’. ‘But,’ Christian wonders, ‘does that make you happier?’ They talk slowly and calmly, looking for the right words for their inner demons. It all comes down to reason and feeling and where the two meet. About reality that looks both familiar and alienating. Read More »