Austrian film gets year off to good start
by Bénédicte Prot
15/01/2009 - After a superb 2008 (see news), the interest shown in Austrian works at the start of 2009 by major international film events (including Rotterdam, Berlin and the Oscars) augurs well for the year ahead.
At the 38th Rotterdam International Film Festival (January 21-February 1), Schottentor will screen in competition. This is the second feature by Tyrolean director Caspar Pfaundler (after his Taipei-set Lost and Found in 2001).
The title – produced by Peter Roehsler for Nanook Film – plunges viewers into the underground world of "Schottenpassage" in Vienna, a place of passage, encounters and oft-cherished illusions.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the organisers of the Academy Awards have just announced that Götz Spielmann’s Austrian feature Revanche [trailer, film focus] is among the nine titles shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Produced by Prisma, the film – which has already scooped honours (three awards at last year’s Berlin Festival, Diagonale 2008 Grand Prize) – recounts how two lovers try to escape the depravity of Vienna’s red-light district (sales: The Match Factory).
At the forthcoming Berlin International Film Festival (February 5-15), the 30th edition of the Panorama section – whose full line-up has not yet been confirmed – will present two Austrian titles.
These include the comedy The Bone Man by Wolfgang Murnberger (Silentium [trailer], Lapislazuli), starring Josef Hader (who co-wrote the film with the director and Wolf Haas), Josef Bierbichler and Birgit Minichmayr. This Dor Film production – whose selection was announced on January 7 – recounts the investigation carried out by a private detective concerned by the number of chicken carcasses and human remains found at a rural holiday home.
The second Austrian film on the Panorama programme is Kill Daddy Good Night by Michael Glawogger (who won international acclaim for his documentary Workingman's Death, in 2005, followed by Slumming [trailer] in 2006), whose selection was announced yesterday. This title – produced by Vienna-based Lotus Film in co-production with Germany’s Tat Film and France’s Polaris Films – stars Helmut Köpping, Ulrich Tukur (soon to star in John Rabe), Sabine Timoteo (The Free Will) and Christian Tramitz (Rabbit Without Ears [trailer]).
The film traces the destiny of three families at three different moments in history: a Jewish family murdered by the Nazis, the guilty man’s family exiled in America and a contemporary Viennese family. The Berlinale will show the title in international avant-première.
(Translated from French)