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by Sophia Hörmann

grade: 7

Sophia Hörmann’s camera proves, in Endstation Seestadt, to be particularly skilled in depicting the bodies of the actors, in continuous dances where, in an intertwining of bodies, arms and legs, a single individual can no longer be distinguished, and where everything, from the outset, takes on symbolic and spiritual significance.

The coveted freedom

There is a district on the outskirts of Vienna where time seems to stand still, where one no longer has the impression of being in a big city, but rather in a kind of ‘non-place’. This district, called Seestadt, is located at the last stop of the underground line U2 and is part of the 22nd district. This singular and alienating location, then, was chosen by director and video artist Sophia Hörmann for her experimental short film Endstation Seestadt, which was included, following the cancellation of the Diagonale 2020, in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished.

Seestadt, then, is a place where the presence of human beings seems only a vague memory. A place to take refuge when one wants to escape from the chaos of city life. And, above all, a place where, far from prying eyes, it is finally possible to be oneself.

Dance and music have always had a prominent place in Sophia Hörmann’s cinema. The same applies to Endstation Seestadt, which immediately presents itself as an experimental, anti-narrative short film with a musical character, complete with dancing bodies and agile, finally free figures moving through the vast spaces shown here.

Sophia Hörmann’s camera proves, here, to be particularly skilled in portraying the bodies of the actors, in continuous dances where, in an intertwining of bodies, arms and legs, one can no longer distinguish a single individual and where everything, from the outset, takes on symbolic and spiritual significance. The Seestadt district, for its part, does the rest. This, in fact, is the place where one can finally feel free, where no one judges those around them and where one can even think of becoming a child again, complete with old rocking horses with their peeling paint, but which have not lost their charm as objects belonging to decades past.

Endstation Seestadt is, then, a journey into a dimension that until recently did not even seem to belong to us. An occasion that almost symbolises a kind of return to nature, where everything we see is pure truth, without any filter. And not even in the post-production stage, then, was it necessary to add special filters or visual effects to give further meaning to all the dancing bodies. And immediately, we are reminded of Baroque Statues, directed by the famous painter Maria Lassnig in 1970, her first film produced in the United States.

Also in Endstation Seestadt, then, the topic of liberation of bodies becomes the mainstay of the entire work. Bodies that seem to us to be in constant movement, in continuous fusion and mutation. In Lassnig’s film, however, colours and lights also become the main actors in staging the process of liberation. A process of liberation that mainly sees the figure of the woman at the centre of the discourse and which therefore differs from Sophia Hörmann’s film and from its more universal connotations. But Sophia Hörmann, at the same time, knows her stuff, perfectly capable of creating a small and precious work with a welcome – and successful – cathartic and magnetic effect at the same time.

Original title: Endstation Seestadt
Directed by: Sophia Hörmann
Country/year: Austria / 2016
Running time: 11’
Genre: experimental, musical
Cast: Bianca Anne Braunesberger, Pawel Dudus, Raffalea Gras, Anna Possarnig
Screenplay: Sophia Hörmann
Cinematography: Sarah Glück
Produced by: Sophia Hörmann

Info: Endstation Seestadt on Vimeo; the website of Sophia Hörmann