Viennale 2008: A Feast of Film

VIENNALE 2008: Now a major European festival with Godard, Dylan and more, in a mosaic of image and homage

A scene from the film El Sastre, one of the favored short films being screend at this year’s city-wide festival | Photo: Oscar Pérez

Renowned French director Jean Luc Godard, director of this year’s trailer for the Viennale titled Une Catastrophe | Photo: Oscar Pérez

El Sastre

A scene from the film El Sastre, one of the favored short films being screend at this year’s city-wide festival | Photo: Oscar Pérez

Berlin, Venice, Cannes – European cities turn into theater for the festivals of film that have become a way of life.  Vienna’s festival, founded in 1962, is the newest of these film appreciation parties, attracts nearly 100,000 visitors each year in October.

This year’s festival, Oct. 17 to 29 at cinemas throughout the 1st District, is a bit of an anomaly: There is no specific “theme” or “motto;” festival director Hans Hurch defines it more as “a mosaic,” an open festival in which he combines themes, tributes and homages to the world of international film.

One of the tributes will be to Jean–Luc Godard, the renowned French-Swiss filmmaker who is contributing the “Trailer” for this year’s festival. Best known to English speaking audiences for his film Breathless (1960, with Jean Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg), and Weekend (1967 Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne), Godard was a founding member of the Nouvelle Vague, the French New Wave and without question one of the most important European filmmakers of the second half of the 20th century.

Which is why the shrug he has received so far in Vienna has raised a few eyebrows.  In France, Godard in Vienna is big news. In late September, France’s largest circulation daily, Le Monde, attributed half of Page Two Godard’s trailer for this year’s Viennale. This short feature, wrote the French paper, was a classic Godard montage of sharp-edged contradiction, built up in layers of elements merged into one single, seamless piece of art.”

However, Godard may be most famous for his exploration of “mass-market” aesthetics in his films, to make a critical statement about capitalism and the consequent societal decline, as in the Band of Outsiders, which he describes as “Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka” – making him an important contemporary as well as historical artistic voice.

All in all, Hurch is thrilled to have the French director here.

“With Godard’s participation in the Viennale, one of my dreams has come true,” he said glowing. “This wonderful piece helped enhance the importance of the Viennale in today’s film festival industry.”

In another first, this year’s festival will feature an artist, specifically American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, will be honored with a tribute. Dylan, often called the poet of the 1960s youth movement, had a “profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power,” says Alan Jackson of Dylan in a Times interview. At the Viennale, he will be celebrated through movies of his life and work, but most importantly through work that was influenced by his music.

Jean Luc Godard

Renowned French director Jean Luc Godard, director of this year’s trailer for the Viennale titled Une Catastrophe | Photo: Oscar Pérez

Next to Todd Haynes engaging Dylan-Portrayal I’m Not There, the festival will screen glorified Dylan-documentaries such as Don’t Look Back by D.A. Pennebaker of Dylan’s 1965 concert tour of the UK, and rarities such as Dylan’s own films Eat The Document and Renaldo & Clara. The pieces will be presented by Dylan’s own former keyboardist Garth Hudson, later of “The Band,” who accompanied his first electric tour.

An homage to one of German cinema’s greatest marginal filmmakers, Werner Schröter, is also on the schedule.  Both he and acclaimed actress Isabelle Huppert will be presenting their prize-winning film Death of Maria Malibran, the story of one of the 19th centuries most famous mezzo sopranos, portrayed by Huppert, describing her early and tragic death at the age of 28.

Hurch is also excited about the screening of The Wrestler, by Darren Aronofsky, starring Mickey Rourke and Evan Rachel Wood, that was awarded a Golden Lion in Venice earlier this year.  Hurch expects that the film — with its fabulous cast and advance honors – to attract large audiences and wide interest.

In it’s 48 years, the Viennale has won a name as a film festival in part because of its close weave in the fabric of city life. The festival not only celebrates film, Hurch says, but also “represents Vienna as a city with culture and projects this to the media and the world.” It is a very urban festival that folds into the rhythms and setting of city life.

 

“The festival is not dominated by the million dollar deals of Cannes or the workaholic attitude of Berlin, but by metropolitan coolness.” Helmut Merker of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk.

 

 

Viennale

complete film program will be released on October 1, 20:00

Box office opens Saturday, Oct. 4 at 10a.m. tickets can be purchased online as well

Stubentor 1.,Parkring 12

Generali-Center

7., Mariahilferstrasse 77

Schottentor 9., Schwarzspanierstraße

43 1 526 59 47

office@viennale.at

www.vienale.at

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