Austrian Film Cycle
The fact that Slovenians are not well acquainted with films made in the closest neighbouring countries is even more disheartening, given the breadth and the picturesqueness of their cinematic horizons. As far as productivity, quality and diversity are concerned, Austria occupies the throne without a doubt. This is a country which (not counting exported hits like Haneke and Seidl) has a creative driving force made up of mostly young female directors. This is confirmed by the fact that this year's national film festival Diagonale listed 207 authors, despite strict selection, and 57 of those names were female.
This year's City of Women festival will present the
highlights in three different film categories. The category of full-length
feature films will be represented by Ruth Mader with Struggle and
Barbara Albert with Böse Zellen/Free Radicals. Struggle deals
with the current topic of the (symbolic) frontier between East and West within
contemporary Europe, which is by no means new to film trends, but its seventy
minutes might be the most convincing achievement, miraculously combining
extreme pessimism, with irrepressible hope and a bold formal rigidity with
genuine feelings. The nails are driven even deeper into the heart with Free
Radicals: a vision of contemporary times and the near future (into which
Slovenia greedily steps) is probably one of the sharpest, most unrelenting and
- paradoxically - the most understanding critiques of the process of
dehumanisation in the name of consumerism. The documentary category will be
represented by two films, Andri 1924-1944, by the twenty-three-year-old
Andrina Mracnikar, and Das wirst du nie verstehen/You Will Never Understand
This by Anja Salomonowitz, who is just a year older. Both films take on the
reconstruction of the past based on fragments of memory; both reach into the
same painful period of European history, and both have a deeply moving way of
telling/confessing that picking at the wounds of the past is sometimes
necessary for a healthy view of the future. A short film programme by two
film-makers (Mara Mattuschka, Michaela Schwentner) will expose the proverbially
superb branch of experimental or avant-garde film. This is a genre with a long
tradition of asking fundamental questions on the nature of film as media and
art with inexhaustible productivity, vitality and determination. Trivia: two
pieces of information confirm that the Austrian 'women's' film cycle is indeed
hot stuff and a promise of a better view of the future. When Sixpack, the Austrian
distributors responsible for the greater part of the City of Women Austrian
Film Cycle, presented a programme of films over a few days at this year's
Pesaro Film Festival, one of their slogans was: The Next Generation is Female.
Just moments before completing our festival programme we discovered that a week
prior to our film cycle the prestigious BFI (British Film Institute) offers
almost the same programme in London entitled Now, About These (Austrian) Women…
Their advertising invites local directors, producers, screen-writers and other
links in the film production process to come and learn a lot of new things. For
other audiences it's viewing, pleasure, and astonishment.
Wed., Sept. 29, 8.10 p.m.
Ruth Mader (Austria): Struggle (2003, 35mm, colour, 74')
Klub Gromka, AKC Metelkova mesto, 10.30 p.m.
Michaela Schwentner (Austria):
Abstract Videos: Giuliana 64 : 03, #Z, How do You Want m.?, Jet, r4, Take the Bus, Transistor
Sun., Oct. 3, 10.10 p.m.
Barbara Albert (Austria): Böse Zellen
(2003, 35mm, colour, 120')
Klub Gromka, Akc Metelkova mesto, 9.30 p.m.
Mara Mattuschka (Bulgaria/Austria/Germany): Kugelkopf (1985, 6'), Parasympathica (1986, 4'), Les Miserables (1987, 2'), Es hat mich sehr gefreut... (1987, 2'), Der Schöne, die Biest (1993, 10'), Unternehmen Arschmaschine (1997, 17'), Plasma (2003, 11')
In co-operation with: City of Women
With the support of: Austrian Film Commission