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by Jasmin Baumgartner

grade: 7

Robin’s Hood has successfully traced an exhaustive and passionate fresco of a reality unknown to most. All in all, a good and well balanced work, with several moments of suspense alternating with much ‘lighter’ scenes. A worthy tribute to a reality that, unfortunately, was over all too soon.

In Robin’s World

It would be wonderful if, finally, there were no more racist incidents. Just as it would be wonderful if Jews, Christians and Muslims could all be treated equally. Yes, it would be wonderful. But while many simply hope for a better future, there are, in small corners of the world, true postmodern heroes who make these principles the guidelines of their daily lives. This, for example, is the case of Robin, the protagonist of the documentary Robin’s Hood, directed by young Jasmin Baumgartner. This work was supposed to be part of the Diagonale 2020 and, following the cancellation of the festival, was included in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished and streamed live on March 25 by Radio FM4.

Robin, then, was the president of the RSV, a small amateur football team made up mainly of people from all corners of the world who would otherwise have been destined to a life of exclusion. RSV, unfortunately, no longer exists today. Yet, thanks to this precious little Robin’s Hood, its spirit and history are destined to remain in the memory for a long time to come.

When we talk about a documentary like Robin’s Hood, then, we are talking about direct cinema in its purest sense. Jasmin Baumgartner, for her part, although coming from a world like that of music videos (before the screening of this documentary, the video clip Wanda – Ciao Baby!was also screened) has renounced any directorial virtuosity in order to show us the everyday life of the team members as it is. Complete with happy moments alongside far more unpleasant situations.

Divided into nine chapters, then, Robin’s Hood sees a camera – Jasmin Baumgartner’s camera, in fact – take a close look at every single aspect, without being afraid to get too close to what it is filming. There is no lack, in this work, of so-called breaking of the fourth wall (when, for instance, we see some footballers or even Robin himself interacting with the director). Just as there is no lack of moments of suspense (when one of the footballers is caught by the police smoking cannabis) or rather delicate dialogues (see, for instance, the scene in which Robin is involved in a pub in a conversation bordering on racism).

And the camera is always ready to record everything. Without any filter. The portraits of the football players that come out are those of brave, team-minded, but also incredibly vulnerable and not “unblemished” people (Robin himself was once in jail for dealing cannabis). And yet, this little Robin’s Hood has successfully created a complete and passionate portrait of this reality, unknown to most (except, perhaps, to the inhabitants of Ottakring, the district of Vienna where the team used to train). All this results in a good and well balanced work, with several moments of suspense alternating with much ‘lighter’ scenes. A worthy tribute to a reality that, unfortunately, ended all too soon.

Original title: Robin’s Hood
Directed by: Jasmin Baumgartner
Country/year: Austria / 2020
Running time: 90’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Jasmin Baumgartner, Matthias Writze
Cinematography: Anna Hawliczek, Olga Kosanovic, Katharina Lüdin
Produced by: Filmakademie Wien

Info: the page of Robin’s Hood on the website of the Diagonale; the website of Jasmin Baumgartner