Cinema feeds on stories of love and death, but how often do filmmakers really offer new or challenging perspectives on either? Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ is devastatingly original and unflinching in the way it examines the effect of love on death, and vice versa. It’s a staggering, intensely moving look at old age and life’s end, which at its heart offers two performances of incredible skill and wisdom from French veteran actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva.
The Austrian director of ‘Hidden’ and ‘The White Ribbon’ offers an intimate, brave and devastating portrait of an elderly Parisian couple, Anne (Riva) and Georges (Trintignant), facing up to a sudden turn in their lives. Haneke erects four walls to keep out the rest of the world, containing his drama almost entirely within one apartment over some weeks and months. The only place we see this couple outside their flat, right at the start, is at the theatre, framed from the stage. Haneke reverses the perspective for the rest of the film. The couple’s flat becomes a theatre for their stories: past, present and future. Continue reading
“Dame Rose ( Dame Carmen Cartellieri ) is a liberal and impudent youngster who sells flowers in selected and important places for aristocrats. There she is obliged by her greedy brother Toni ( Herr Eugen Preiss ) to flirt with old and rich aristocrats ( having in mind that Dame Rose is also a thin girl, that’s a inversely proportional situation for this German count… ). She catches the eye of banker Bergern ( Herr Fritz Helmers ).
Who has a young and handsome nephew, Baron Stein ( Herr Hans Rhoden ). Dame Rose promptly falls in love with Stein so she continues her flirtation both men at the same time. Continue reading
Peter, a 20 year old Viennese photographer, has made the bookings for a holiday with his friend Liesl in the south of France. A French tourist seduces him and he falls for her. Liesl is mad at him. But she wants to go on the trip so she leaves with him. But they do not spend their time together. She flirts with the men on the beach while Peter falls for Simone, a southern beauty, even though they don’t speak the same language. Simone’s fiancé arrives and their affair is over. He misses her exotic charm and doesn’t find it in Liesl who’s just ‘the girl next door’ for him. Liesl flies back home when their vacation ends but Peter wants to stay on in France and look for a job. Contemporary love story about the confrontation of French and Austrian culture. Continue reading
The Year is 1980 and it’s Summer in Vienna
Most people outside of Austria will rarely get a chance to see this movie, but if you get a chance like this, don’t let it pass as you as you’re on for a real treat. ‘Exit’ is not just an Austrian cult movie, it’s a funny and at the same time disturbing and at times depressing look into Vienna in the 80′s. This is “the” movie parents in 1980′s Austria did not want their kids to see.
Viennese crook and would-be playboy Kirchhoff dreams of owning his own coffee house and having lots of beautiful women. In order to reach his goal, he is sometimes compelled to leave the straight and narrow.
Comedy, violence, sex and vandalism are the ingredients of this Austrian cult classic. Continue reading
The hero of Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine is easy to identify. Walking down the street unknowingly, he suddenly realizes that he is not only subject to the gruesome moods of several spectators but also at the mercy of the filmmaker. He defends himself heroically, but is condemned to the gallows, where he dies a filmic death through a tearing of the film itself.
Our hero then descends into Hades, the realm of shades. Here, in the underground of cinematography, he encounters innumerable printing instructions, the means whereby the existence of every filmic image is made possible. In other words, our hero encounters the conditions of his own possibility, the conditions of his very existence as a filmic shade.
Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine is an attempt to transform a Roman Western into a Greek tragedy.
Peter Tscherkassky (translation: Eve Heller) Continue reading
L’Arrivée is Tscherkassky’s second hommage to the Lumiére-brothers. First you see the arrival of the film itself, which shows the arrival of a train at a station. But that train collides with a second train, causing a violent crash, which leads us to an unexpected third arrival, the arrival of a beautiful woman – the happy-end.
Reduced to two minutes L’Arrivée gives a brief, but exact summary of what cinematography (after its arrival with Lumiéres train) has made into an enduring presence of our visual enviroment: violence, emotions. Or, as an anonymous american housewife (cited by T. W. Adorno) used to describe Hollywood’s version of life: “Getting into trouble and out of it again.”
(Peter Tscherkassky) Continue reading
The Castle is a philosophical novel by Franz Kafka. In it a protagonist, known only as K., strives to gain access to the mysterious authorities of a castle that governs the village where K. has arrived to work as a land surveyor. Dark and at times surreal, The Castle is about alienation, bureaucracy, and the seemingly endless frustrations of man’s attempts to stand against the system. Continue reading