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by Tim Oppermann

grade: 7

Light as a feather, Nachtaktiv presents itself as one of Tim Oppermann’s most complete and introspective works, which by no means wants to give definitive answers, and which is perfectly in line with Austrian cinema and its always attentive gaze at young people.

Music, music, music

Adolescence, we know, is by no means an easy time. These are the years when one begins to understand what one really wants in life and what paths to take. What to do, then? Follow one’s passions or opt for a much more classic and secure path, in order to find, one day, a stable job? These are the doubts that torment 17-year-old Tom, the protagonist of the short film Nachtaktiv, directed by young Tim Oppermann in 2015 and included – following the cancellation of the Diagonale 2020 – in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished.

During his short career, young director Tim Oppermann has tried his hand at various film genres, with a particular preference for black comedy. Yet, in his Nachtaktiv – one of his first films – here he experiments with the coming-of-age genre. A film genre, this one, which has been particularly popular in Austria especially since the 1990s (just think, for instance, of cult features such as Barbara Albert’s Northern Skirts, as well as the much darker Lovely Rita by Jessica Hausner, or the more recent works by Katharina Mückstein, namely the remarkable Talea and L’Animale). And Tim Oppermann, for his part, in staging the story of young Tom, has faithfully followed the canons of national cinema – also adding a touch of irony – recounting the doubts of a young man about which path to take, whether to follow his dreams and passions or to finish his studies, putting everything off until after the matura.

Tom, then, is seventeen years old and has a great passion for music. And if by day he is busy composing and mixing new tracks on the computer, by night he works as a deejay in a small club in Vienna. However, when he is invited to take part in an important event in Berlin, where he will finally be able to present his work, he will have to decide whether to leave or to go back to school and take his final exams in preparation for high school. His mother and older sister, for their part, as we can well imagine, want him to finish his studies.

The world in which Tom takes refuge during family quarrels, then, seems almost a reality apart. This is, therefore, a world in which all kinds of sounds reign: from the sound of coffee pouring out of the mocha to the most imaginative creations of electronic music in general. Tim Oppermann, for his part, has not hesitated to include in this his Nachtaktiv small tributes to cinema itself (suffice it to say that young Tom usually keeps his savings inside the DVD case of the Coen brothers’ Fargo) and concentrating, at the same time, mainly on the inner life of the character, he has been able to draw an excellent portrait of the situation, in a delicate but deep exploration of one of the most complex ages ever – that of seventeen – and of one of the most complicated periods for young people who still have to figure out what to do with their lives. Light as a feather, then, this Nachtaktiv presents itself as one of Tim Oppermann’s most complete and introspective works, which by no means wants to give definitive answers, perfectly in line with Austrian cinema and with its always attentive gaze towards young people. And when it is a young person who finally has a say in the matter, it is all the better.

Original title: Nachtaktiv
Directed by: Tim Oppermann
Country/year: Austria / 2015
Running time: 18’
Genre: coming-of-age
Cast: Nikolaus Reimitz, Julia Stipsits, Luzia Oppermann, Florian Appelius, Viktor Rabl, Gerhard Walcher
Screenplay: Constantin Schwab, Tim Oppermann
Cinematography: Valentin Lilgenau
Produced by: Höhere Graphische Bundes-Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt

Info: the page of Nachaktiv on iMDb; Nachtaktiv on Vimeo