The 22 films in Sehnsucht 2020 – Eine kleine Stadterzählung – a joint special by Diagonale, Filmarchiv Austria, the Austrian Film Museum, and the ORF Archive – revolve around the key words city and desire in Austrian film. The program can be seen from March 25 to 29, on the occasion of the Diagonale in Graz.
There is a special world that is told in Washed Ashore. This, in fact, is the world of fishermen, of cemetery keepers, of Buddhist monks, of homeless people, of soldiers used to gather for their exercises far from residential areas. A world where many cultures come together with dozens of different stories. Stories and people who, however, have something great in common: the Danube.
Starting with the upcoming 70th edition, the Berlinale will have a new, important section. This section is called Encounters and its aim is to keep abreast of the times, focusing on all the new forms cinema is taking all over the world. And, on the occasion of this 70th Berlinale, an Austrian feature film has also been selected as part of this section.
Perfectly according to the poetics of Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, The Sinful Women of Höllfall mainly plays with feelings, fears and suggestions experienced by the characters themselves. What is staged is, in fact, the very fear of the Trud and the deep sense of guilt that such a legend has managed to generate in the past.
Everything, from the very beginning, is charged with an unsettling religiosity, in The Lodge. A dark, judgmental religiosity that instils terror from the very first minutes. Large paintings depicting sacred images and severe crucifixes seem to continuously observe the protagonists. And a gloomy light, which strongly contrasts with the overexposed white of the immense expanse of snow surrounding the house, becomes the main protagonist of the entire feature film.
Many will remember director William Friedkin’s long and exciting interview with the great Fritz Lang, which took place in 1974 and is still today considered a precious document in film history. During this interview, then, we cannot fail to notice an enthusiastic and passionate Fritz Lang recounting some of his fundamental vicissitudes. Like, for example, when, after a meeting with Goebbels, he decided to expatriate.
Even today, anyone who thinks of great names in the world of cinema coming directly from Austria must also think of Otto Preminger: a grumpy but honest, brave and self-confident man, who also thanks to his desire to experiment was able to give us true masterpieces that will live forever in our imagination.
There really is a lot to be enjoyed in dealing with all the numerous ideas that the life of this brilliant artist has to offer us. All depends on knowing how to handle them well, in order to make a never predictable or didactic work that is able to portray one of Austria’s most important artistic personalities as passionately and faithfully as possible. And Dieter Berner has perfectly succeeded in this never easy and by no means banal task with his Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden.