“Rimini” by Ulrich Seidl: Giant in the Fog

The refugees scattered over the Adriatic residence of rickety star Richie Bravo are, to some extent, part of the standard setting for a Ulrich Seidl movie. They sit bored in front of their camper van, leaving trash in the corridor and occupying the living room. Of course, Ricci is not influential, the Austrian director is always interested in as much contradiction as possible.

Rimini’s Striking King—the fur coat over the undershirt, greasy pickup stripes, played by Michael Thomas as a sponge bear—is actually under siege in his already shrinking empire. And at this point in Rimini, the resonant gesture and creamy arrogance finally acquire tragic traits. In this scenario, the runaways are pure accessories (they don’t say a single sentence) – and in that respect, they’re basically on par with the cardboard cut-out Ritchie Bravo in front of whom would-be Gigolo practices aging poses.

Rimini’s Obsessed Summer Legend

When Rimini had its world premiere at the Berlinale in the spring, critics looked indulgently (by Seidl’s standards) for the legend’s beloved swan song — meaning both Ritchie Bravo and the seaside resort of Rimini with its all-inclusive hotels. Casinos can be low. Since the allegations against Ulrich Seidl, first published by Der Spiegel in a six-page story at the beginning of September, followed by further research by the Austrian magazine Walther, people have looked at Rimini and the fugitive actors with different eyes.

Seidl is accused – by parents and staff – of not providing adequate protection to his young actors during the filming of his movie “Sparta” with Romanians, even forcing them to perform painful scenes under psychological pressure. He also concealed from his parents that “Sparta” was about a man with pedophilia.

The film itself, which premiered in San Sebastian after the Toronto festival was canceled, according to initial reviews, is harmless and less provocative than Seidl is used to. However, the question arises again under what conditions is this cinema created, in which amateurs play alongside professional actors and in which information is withheld for the sake of “authentic” expression.

Seidl has always pushed the boundaries between fiction and documentation to the point that his films tread a fine line between humanism and voyeurism. Above all, he worked his way through his countrymen — and accepted collateral damage with approval. In his first feature film, Good News in 1990, these were the sellers of Indian newspapers on the streets of Vienna; In “Paradies: Liebe” (2012) in “Beach Boys” at a Kenyan holiday resort they show their bodies to older Austrian women. In Safari (2018), a giraffe is killed on camera while chasing a big game.

The question of power relations (both in front of and behind the camera), which Seidl’s films raises and also reflects in all its duality, arises again after the allegations in Spiegel. Even Walter asks if the Seidl method, sometimes greeted with intrigued wryness by film critics, has reached its limits here. Rimini also addresses these questions; On the one hand, because of the refugee actors – and because the brother of Richie Ewald (George Friedrich) is the main actor in the sequel “Sparta”.

“Rimini” seems all the more harmful because it is designed as an exaggerated biography of a saint, comparable to Aronofsky’s “gladiator” – also in terms of the physiognomy of its heroes. In this nostalgic setting, Rimini can indulge in his own shameless outdoor production without completely alienating the audience. The off-season atmosphere on the Adriatic does the rest: Richie in a fur coat roams like a mammoth through damp autumn mists on Rimini Beach, and the morbid charm of empty hotel lobbies and casinos creates a harrowing atmosphere.

However, Richie is also a character who can’t be easily disavowed, if only because of Michael Thomas’ imposing appearance. He accepts his fate without complaint. He charms the conscientiously gaudy Rimini tourist as his female admirer did in the prime of his life, “Amore Mio” still emanating from his lips with enthusiasm; And also (in honor of Seidl) tearjerker “Winnetou” that Thomas wrote for the movie.

Richie increases his meager salary with charity. sex together bad talking Seidl is typically inconvenient, but now also a scam. Despite his limited opportunities, Ritchie maintained his dignity. When his mad father (Hans-Michael Reiberg in his last role) began to sing the Wehrmacht song in the nursing home, Ricci spontaneously sings “Amore Mio” to him.

In Rimini casinos, Ricci Bravo often plays in front of half-empty seats.
© Photo: New Insights

Ritchie’s economic constraints are compounded when his adult daughter Tessa (Tessa Gottliecher) and her child’s father – a young refugee who always stands next to father and daughter like a guilty conscience – suddenly appear and demand 18 years of alimony payments. Halludrey Ritchie, who usually has women at his feet, falls to his knees at some point in light of the new parental responsibility.

(In cinemas starting Thursday)

Basically, Rimini didn’t need the Tessa sideline. However, it does hint at Seidl’s moderation in age, facilitating this amazing feat a little. They have made the latest, well-documented allegations (according to a police investigation into Spiegel that began in Romania) seem even more outlandish.

Seidl has always raised such controversies, so far critics have dealt with them only on a primarily aesthetic level. The films themselves provide at best circumstantial evidence, no evidence. But while production conditions are particularly questioned, it is no longer easy to separate the work from the artist. The Seidel Method may not be obsolete at all, but it just needs to be fixed. With Cordwin Ayoub’s “Sonne”, which won an award at the Berlinale, Seidl produced a young director who interprets some of the ideas produced by this method in a more open and contemporary way. Looking at characters from above no longer creates moral supremacy.

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