Vibrant opening for colourful Viennale
by Bénédicte Prot
22/10/2009 - In the Austrian capital this evening, the Viennale (October 22-November 4) will kick off with a screening of Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel’s Italian/Austrian co-production La Pivellina [trailer].
The film, which tells the story of an abandoned child taken in by circus performers, was presented in this year’s Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and won the Europa Cinemas Label Award. It is the first Austrian production to open the Viennale in the event’s history.
As always, among the 89 features on the line-up are the latest works by seasoned directors, including Jacques Rivette’s Around a Small Mountain [trailer], Lars von Trier’s controversial Antichrist [trailer, film focus], Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Jean-Marie Straub’s Corneille - Brecht (co-directed by Cornelia Geiser) , Manoel de Oliveira’s Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl [trailer] and Francis Ford Coppola’s European co-production Tetro [trailer].
The programme also features works by representatives of the new European cinema, who have won acclaim at international festivals. Titles include Austrian director Jessica Hausner’s Lourdes [trailer, film focus], Police, Adjective [trailer, film focus] by Romania’s Corneliu Porumbiou, French director Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet [trailer, film focus] (winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes), fellow French director Claire Denis’ White Material [trailer], Welcome [trailer, film focus] by another Gallic helmer Philippe Lioret, and UK director Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank [trailer, film focus].
Viennese audiences will also get the chance to discover films by completely new talents, including Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues’ To Die Like a Man [trailer], Eastern Plays [trailer, film focus] by Bulgaria’s Kamen Kalev (LUX Prize 2009 competition) and UK helmer Duncan Jones’ Moon [trailer].
Also on the line-up are 60 documentaries, including Abel Ferrara’s Italian co-production Napoli Napoli Napoli; Pedro Costa’s French/Lusitanian co-production Ne Change Rien [trailer] (“Change Nothing”), about the actress Jeanne Balibar; and Romuald Karmakar’s German title Villalobos.
Besides showing around 50 shorts and a huge retrospective of transgressive US films, the Viennale will also host a tribute to UK actress Tilda Swinton, a programme dedicated to Berlin’s German Film and Television Academy (DFFB) and a section focusing on early Austrian cinema.
As usual, the festival will present the Vienna Film Prize to an Austrian title released during the last 12 months. In a new move, as of this year, the prize will be split to honour both narrative films and documentaries (with €14,000 for each of the winners).
Other distinctions include the Der Standard Readers’ Jury Award, for a title that has not yet found an Austrian distributor, and the FIPRESCI Prize for debut and second features.
(Translated from French)