Austria

Michael Haneke – La pianiste AKA The Piano Teacher (2001)

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Michael Haneke’s latest torture mechanism is less funny game than daunting debasement ritual. Isabelle Huppert stars as Erika Kohut, an icy piano teacher who goes masochistic when handsome young Walter Klemmer (Benoit Magimel) wants to play with her cold ivory. Huppert responds to Haneke with such straight-faced precision that you might just buy into the director’s seemingly shallow provocations. Spousal punishment in Bergman’s Cries & Whispers came in the form of self-mutilation. Haneke, though, has Huppert paint a more squeamish picture of self-love that also contemplates the possibility of pleasure in pain. The director has an uncanny ability to force the spectator’s gaze and takes his time revealing Erika’s many fetishes. Though all-powerful in the classroom, Erika is slapped around by her busybody mother as if she were a constantly misbehaving child. Read More »

Michael Glawogger – Workingman’s Death (2005)

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After you see this film, you’ll never complain about your job again. Subtitled something like “Five Portraits of Work in the Twenty-First Century,” Glawogger’s documentary features some of the most dangerous, difficult, or just plain unpleasant work in the world.

Each segment except the last one is about twenty-five minutes long, and is shot without any voice-over narration and very little editorializing. We are simply presented with people working and talking about their work. The director possesses a very painterly sense of composition, and we’re often presented with shots of workers posing as if they were in front of a still camera. The camera-work is even more impressive when it is moving, and I often found myself wondering how they were able to film in some of these conditions. Read More »

Markus Mörth – Siblings AKA Geschwister (2016)

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The siblings Bebe and Mikhail leave their country Moldova to apply for asylum in Germany. Their flight turns into a modern odyssey.
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Michael Palm – Cinema Futures (2016)

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To commemorate its 50th anniversary and to discuss what lies ahead for the medium of film, in 2014 the Austrian Film Museum has initiated a new feature-length work for the cinema.
Austrian writer and filmmaker Michael Palm, celebrated for his outstanding essay film 
Low Definition Control (2011), took up the challenge.
Cinema Futures is being shot at a variety of international locations – engaging in multifaceted ways with the potential future of film in the digital era.
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Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Moses und Aron (1975)

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In expressive, melodic tones, the fraternal pair debate God’s true message and intent for His creations, a conflict that leads their followers – in extravagantly choreographed song and dance – towards chaos and sin.

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Moses and Aaron finds Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, through their exemplary craft, transforming a familiar Biblical tale into a borderline-surreal cinematic opera of seemingly endless possibility. In expressive, melodic tones, the fraternal pair debate God’s true message and intent for His creations, a conflict that leads their followers — in extravagantly choreographed song and dance — towards chaos and sin. Set almost entirely within a Roman amphitheater whose history lends every precise line-reading and gesture, every startling camera move and cut, a totalizing force, Straub-Huillet’s adaptation of Schoenberg’s unfinished opera opens us to the stimulating worldview of a filmmaking duo whose masterful efforts are finally coming to light. Read More »

Peter Jaitz – Rimini (2009)

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The young, successful employee Alex knows finally, what he wants from life – actually, what he doesn’t want: Its life. It bores him to death. Each day the same, which is subjected to the capitalism of the local industry. In a violent fight against his own reason Alex floats now in a sump of the Nihilismus and the uncommon everyday life of a new life, which keeps something new ready behind each corner. In a world, in which one is squeezed into cages, only the egoist can survive… Read More »

Constantin Wulff – Ulrich Seidl und die bösen Buben AKA Ulrich Seidl: A Director at Work (2014)

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The film portrait Ulrich Seidl – A Director at Work depicts the controversial Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl at work for the first time, painting a vivid picture of the much-debated “Seidl method”. Read More »