Ulrich Seidl

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 »

Ulrich Seidl – Safari (2016)

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Ulrich Seidls follow wealthy tourists going on safari to kill often endangered species. Some determinedly searching for trophies, others to enjoy. Even if every prey comes at a price, they always find a way to legitimize their own actions. Read More »

Ulrich Seidl – Safari (2016)

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Ulrich Seidl follow wealthy tourists going on safari to kill often endangered species. Some determinedly searching for trophies, others to enjoy. Even if every prey comes at a price, they always find a way to legitimize their own actions. Read More »

Ulrich Seidl – Import/Export (2007)

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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.” Read More »

Ulrich Seidl – Im Keller AKA In the Basement (2014)

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In the Basement (Im Keller) is a 2014 Austrian documentary film directed by Ulrich Seidl about people and their obsessions, and what they do in their basements in their free time. It was part of the Out of Competition section at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.

Corpulent sex slaves, tuba-playing Nazi obsessives, reborn doll fantasists — just a regular stroll through the neighborhood, then, for patented guru of the grotesque Ulrich Seidl, who makes an intriguing return to documentary filmmaking with “In the Basement.” Grabby and grubby in equal measure, this meticulously composed trawl through the contents of several middle-class Austrians’ cellars (a space, according to Seidl, that his countrymen traditionally give over to their most personal hobbies) yields more than a few startling discoveries. Read More »

Ulrich Seidl – Paradies: Hoffnung AKA Paradise: Hope (2013)

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Her mother goes off to Kenya in search of beach boys willing to provide her with amorous services. Her staunchly Catholic aunt is absorbed in house-to-house evangelism. Thus, thirteen-year-old Melanie spends the holidays in a diet camp in the Austrian mountains. In between physical training and nutritional counselling, nightly pillow fights and a secret bout of binge drinking at the local disco, she falls in love with the doctor and camp director, who is forty years her senior. Melanie uses all her seductive wiles to win him over …
In the third part of his ‘paradise’ trilogy – following Paradies: Liebe and Paradies: Glaube – Ulrich Seidl pits the deep-seated human desire for love and security against harsh reality. From the sterile surroundings of the diet camp, Seidl filters impeccably pristine, minimalist images in which any hint of sensuality, passion or anarchy would appear to be a complete anathema. And yet Paradies: Hoffnung is the most tender of the three ‘paradise’ films, for his young protagonists bear within them a spark of hope that love is not just an illusion, but can be an honest and powerful emotion. Read More »

Ulrich Seidl – Paradies: Glaube AKA Paradise: Faith (2012)

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Put together a subversive filmmaker like Ulrich Seidl with the subject of religious fanaticism and you’re bound to get something provocative. But Paradise: Faith, the second part of the Austrian director’s trilogy about three women from the same family on different quests, is possibly more interesting to think about and discuss afterwards than to sit through. Depending how you look at it, there’s a pitch-black comedy buried in here or a redeeming shred of empathy at the tail end of two grueling hours. Either way, it’s strictly for the faithful. Read More »