“This 60th edition was a celebration of cinema and being together,” Festival Director Eva Sangiorgi said happily on the last evening of the 5th Vienna Festival under her supervision. “We felt it, in the energy of full movie halls, in the intense conversations between the authors and the audience, in the statements of all those people with whom we have shared so many experiences through the films.” Because it is one of the tasks that the festival has always felt committed to, not only to show films, but also to contextualize them and make them available within the framework of current discourse.
Thus director duo Tesa Coffey and Rainer Friemmel premiered on October 20 the inaugural and controversial Selfie. ‘Vera’ was also the first of a total of twenty Austrian productions and co-productions – more on that in ‘Opening with Hilden in High Heels’.
As far as Austria like never before
Previously the most controversial film was certainly Ulrich Seidl’s “Sparta”, which – unlike other festivals – was included in the program with two shows. This shouldn’t be “an expression of relief,” the festival said, “but Vinalli also doesn’t want to be part of a prejudice against directors or films” — more on this in the controversial “Sparta shows fiction rather than action.”
Two other Austrian films have also attracted a great deal of public interest. In “Mutzenbacher,” director Ruth Beckermann uses the legendary classic porn movie from 1906 for a panorama of masculinity. “Eismayer” tells the true story of an Austrian armed forces instructor, whose life only began after a walk – more on that in “On the Couch with a Porn Legend” and “The Tender Side of the Vice Lieutenant”.
Finaly not only celebrated his birthday, but a special jubilee was also honored at this year’s festival. Guest of honor Werner Herzog, who celebrated his 80th birthday in September, welcomed the audience at the Gartenbauchino party as well as at the screenings of his film “Theater of Thought” and the documentary film about it “Werner Herzog – Radical Dreamer” directed by Thomas von Steinaker enthusiastic – more on this in “The Good Soldier of Cinema” “.
Women, life, freedom
The award-winning documentary “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” is dedicated to photographer Nan Goldin, who unparalleledly documented the art and LGBTQ scene in New York from the 1970s onwards. The film looked at her life, which, in addition to art, is mainly shaped by her addiction to opioids and her struggle against the triggers of the opioid crisis in the United States – more on this in Nan Goldin’s Illustrated Love Story.
Sarah Polley’s drama “Women Talking” was also about strong women. Based on a true story and a worldwide bestseller, this is a group of women who are resisting years of abuse and oppression by their husbands – read more in The Last Days of Patriarchy.
At Finaly, seasoned movie buffs and seasoned filmmakers love to dedicate themselves to special programs apart from the big blockbusters of the season. Historiography of Argentine film noir has promised to fill educational gaps this year. Whether it’s the driver-turned-serial killer or the crime writer out for revenge: Toxic masculinity was a cinematic specialty in the Río de la Plata during the Perón era – and even more so in Buenos Aires’ Dark Masculinity.
A little fun is always good
The Viennale dedicated a study to legendary American American director Elaine May and featured all four feature films, which are true gems of comedy – more on this in From Insider’s Hint to Comic Icon.
A black comedy appeared on “The Banshees of Inisherin,” which deals with the question of what it means when your best friend suddenly ends your friendship. A movie about male pain starring the great Colin Farrell – read more about him in “Male Friendship Is Over”.
One of the rare films directed by American actor Steve Buscemi, it was one of the beautiful small films in this festival. In “The Listener” follows a telephone operator who gives people in crisis sympathetic ear, advice and mercy. Alongside these phone calls, a current panorama of American society, including crises, struggles, dreams and hopes, is plotted in less than 96 minutes – more on this in “At the Other End of the Hotline.”
As part of the closing ceremony, the Viennale Film Awards were once again awarded – more on this at wien.ORF.at.
The Viennale celebrated its conclusion this year with the bittersweet love drama “Un beau matin” (“On a Beautiful Morning”). In French director Mia Hansen-Love’s new feature film, Lea Seydoux plays a single mother in Paris who must reconcile her ailing father and her new lover – more on this in “Romantic Love in Paris.”
Celebrating the 60th Vienna Film Festival, a kind of cultural history was also celebrated: the opening of Vienna and Austria onto the world cinema scene and a new self-image of the country. Which is why it really celebrates the great cultural institutions, some of which have disappeared from the city – more on that in When Vienna Dreamed the World.