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VIENNALE: Comedy and Catharsis

VIENNALE: Comedy and Catharsis

Vienna is a commodious city for a film festival. Skirting the Ring is the small ensemble of cinemas, coterminous with trams, bicycle- and footpaths, rustling through crisp seasonal mists biding one’s time between films. Just three days into the festival, there was already a lot to take in. The Viennale’s Opening Gala, on 24 October, […]

Love in the Time of Globalisation

Love in the Time of Globalisation

A woman irons a shirt, telling the camera: “The Austrian Republic dictates how much money I must earn – €1,187 – so my husband can get his residence permit back.” She then tells us the staggering amount of clothes she must press this month to meet this quota. And many are far worse off in […]

“Vogerl” Takes Flight

“Vogerl” Takes Flight

The first warm evening in June saw the première of the film “Das Glück is a Vogerl” (“Luck is a little bird”) at Vienna’s Breitenseer Lichtspiele, one of the oldest cinemas in continuous operation in the world. It’s a venerable old movie house: Lichtspiele first opened its doors in 1908 (although not in the current […]

After World War II: Finding Where I Belong

After World War II: Finding Where I Belong

The eye changes over time: Looking back now 50 years on the manners, conventions, look and style of the 1950s feel like a foreign land: familiar, but very far away. This is the world of Where I Belong, the first feature length film written and directed by Austrian filmmaker Fritz Urschitz. Set in a small […]

When Less is More

When Less is More

Film festivals are fascinating. They tend to uncover the unknowns, promote the unpromotable, putting on display pictures you would rarely see in a fiercely commercial medium. Yet their influence far outweighs their attendance. After all, innovation doesn’t happen in the mainstream, and today’s lunatic fringe may turn out to be tomorrow’s standard. And while Vienna […]

Going the Extra Mile

Going the Extra Mile

“Wait, I have to give my dog a pig’s ear!” Austria’s Grande Dame of stage and screen, 86-year-old Erni Mangold, says to the driver before getting into the black van. Thus begins Driving the Stars, a documentary film and an intimate peek into the not-so-glamorous side of Austrian show business. Josef Deininger, alias Joschi, is […]

Tricky Women: Vienna Celebrates Female Animators

Tricky Women: Vienna Celebrates Female Animators

The Pillsbury Doughboy, Mickey Mouse, the Simpsons – whether a Disney character in the movies, a hand-rendered family TV series, or a 3D computer-generated Hello Kitty, what we have come to know as objects, caricatures, forms that move and appear to live and breathe, are created by a process known as animation.  The process […]

Diagonale: How to Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

Diagonale: How to Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

I pulled into Graz just in time for the gala opening, threw on a fancy suit, refreshed my hair and make-up, and jumped into a cab prepared to sidestep the paparazzi and compete with the stars of stage and screen, entering Austria’s premier film festival at the Helmut-List-Halle. No red carpet. OK. But the hordes were there all right, thronging the entrance […]

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