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by Sebastian Brauneis

grade: 6

3freunde2feinde wants to tell in particular the workers’ uprising and the ‘takeover’ by three long-time friends. In order, then, to remain coherent with what he has staged, Sebastian Brauneis decided to realise his film with a very limited budget (just under €2,500). Still, passion is evident.

Power to the workers

A particularly noteworthy project, 3freunde2feinde (‘3 friends 2 enemies’), the newest film by young director Sebastian Brauneis. This feature film – which should have been part of the official selection of the Diagonale 2020 and, following the festival’s cancellation, was included in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished and broadcast with a live stream on Radio FM4 – proved from the outset to be a particularly honest, sincere and, above all, coherent comedy with a bitter aftertaste.

Because, in fact, 3freunde2feinde wants to tell in particular the workers’ uprising and the ‘takeover’ by three long-time friends. This, then, is the story of Johanna, Franzi and Emil (played respectively by Marlene Hauser, Christoph Kohlbacher und Noah L. Perktold), who all work for the same company: a forwarding company led by an unscrupulous man nicknamed ‘Dad’, and directed by Karli (an excellent Christoph Radakovits), his future son-in-law, and the much more lazy Heinzi (Lukas Watzl). The two usually exploit their employees, giving them little reward. Yet things finally seem to change when, during a meeting, someone calls Karli an ‘asshole’, triggering a real workers’ uprising.

In order, then, to keep coherent with what he staged, Sebastian Brauneis decided to realise his 3freunde2feinde with a very limited budget (just under €2,500). Still, passion is really evident. In order to give life to this project, in fact, many professionals have decided to contribute, even if for a limited fee. All this, therefore, let the film not to suffer too much from the limited means available, presenting a rather satisfying technical output.

This, of course, applies not only to Brauneis’ direction (which involves a constant use of handheld cameras, together with frenetic editing and, more generally, a mise-en-scene that reminds of underground American cinema), but also to the good acting performances of the cast.

Let’s agree: 3freunde2feinde does have some small naivety in it. And this concerns above all the screenplay (by Brauneis himself), which sees several unresolved elements, as well as sometimes too weak and highly predictable plot twists. Not too bad, however. Because, in fact, what the director wants to communicate reaches us. And it does so without too many pretentions or particular hopes in this regard. And so, this interesting little work of his proves to be extraordinarily honest. And, at the end of the game, it is always true friendship that triumphs.

Because, after all, 3freunde2feinde wants to be just that: a hymn to friendship and solidarity, a series of values that make one able to overcome all difficulties (or almost), and then enjoy well-deserved moments of togetherness singing old songs in some Viennese pub.

Original title: 3freunde2feinde
Directed by: Sebastian Brauneis
Country/year: Austria / 2020
Running time: 108’
Genre: comedy
Cast: Marlene Hauser, Christoph Kohlbacher, Noah L. Perktold, Laura Hermann, Lukas Watzl, Christoph Radakovits, Robert Reinagl, Lisa Schrammel, Julian Loidl, Gerhard Kasal, Alain Asso, Samuel Machto, Frederick Machto, Valentin Brauneis
Screenplay: Sebastian Brauneis
Cinematography: Sebastian Brauneis, Valentin Brauneis
Produced by: Studio Brauneis

Info: the page of 3freunde2feinde on the website of the Diagonale;