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Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2020 kicks off. In Rome, at the Forum Austriaco di Cultura, from June 30 to July 16, 2020.

Nature, cinema, an exciting new beginning…

The cool, tree-lined Viale Bruno Buozzi. The picturesque gardens of the Forum Austriaco di Cultura. And then, last but not least, Cinema. The magic of cinema under the stars for some of the most interesting feature films produced in Austria in the past year. In the past few months it seemed almost like a pipe dream to be able to enjoy a film in the open air on a warm summer evening. Yet, finally, this – albeit with due precautions – is again possible. And so, as never before, the Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2020 film festival arrives as welcome as a breath of fresh air.

Now in its eighth edition, this year’s Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2020 – curated by Stefano Finesi and titled La Sfida sostenibile – Umanità, Ambiente, Tecnologia – will have environmental sustainability as its leitmotif and, accordingly, a careful selection will show us some of the most meaningful – and valuable – feature films and documentaries focusing on the topic.

The event starts, then, on Tuesday 30 June – at 9 p.m. and again in the suggestive location in 113, Viale Bruno Buozzi – with the screening of the documentary Sea of Shadows, produced in 2019 by Leonardo Di Caprio and directed by Austrian Richard Ladkani. This documentary, already awarded at the Sundance Film Festival 2019, focuses on the issue of illegal fishing in the Sea of Cortez, which is endangering the smallest whale in existence. Alongside such a sensitive topic, evocative images of the seabed will impress our eyes from the very first minutes.

Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2020 will welcome us again on Wednesday 1 July. On this special occasion, then, we will have the opportunity to watch Earth, the newest work by director Nikolaus Geyrhalter, which has already been presented in the Forum section at the Berlinale 2019. With Earth, then, we will begin a long journey to every corner of the world, during which we will be able to see how man usually exploits the earth and its resources, often in an excessively inconsiderate manner and without taking due precautions.

Interesting food for thought will also be given on Tuesday, 7 July, when the documentary Anders essen – Das Experiment, directed by Kurt Langbein and Andrea Ernst, will be screened from 9pm. Starting from the idea that, if we all ate as usual in the West, two planets would be needed in order to feed us all, this documentary shows us – through a small but meaningful experiment – how we can improve our impact on the environment in which we live, even if only by changing a little our eating habits.

It will not disappoint the audience’s expectations Little Joe, the newest feature film by the renowned Jessica Hausner, already presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2019 (where the lead actress Emily Beecham received the Palme d’Or for Best Actress), and finally screened to the audience at the Forum Austriaco di Cultura on Thursday 9 July, also at 9pm. This disturbing and magnetic sci-fi thriller tells the story of Alice, a scientist working in a laboratory where a special flower capable of making human beings happy is being created. But where will this unnatural arrogance with which humans insist on manipulating nature lead?

Finally, the last week of Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2020 will reserve us two real gems of contemporary Austrian cinema. On Monday 13 July, for example, the exciting and highly sophisticated documentary Robolove, already presented at the Viennale 2019 and directed by director Maria Arlamovsky, interviewed for the occasion by Cinema Austriaco, will be screened. This documentary shows us a possible near future in which robots will be able to live and work almost as well as humans.

Finally, the festival will close on Thursday 16 July, when, at 9pm, the sophisticated and disturbing The Trouble with being born will be screened, a surprising second feature by the young Sandra Wollner, already awarded at the Berlinale 2020. The staged story is that of Elli, a teenager who spends her days alone with her father, between a swim in the pool and increasingly less innocent games. But there is one detail: the man is not her father and Elli is not a human being. What will this unusual situation lead to?

To find out, then, which surprises Austrian cinema has in store for us, all we have to do is take part in Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2020 and let ourselves be carried away by the many exciting stories told on the big screen.

Obviously, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some security measures will be necessary this year. And, to this end, while admission is always free subject to availability, a reservation (maximum of two people) will be required via the e-mail address It will only be possible to access the screenings afterwards with the use of a mask and with a mandatory distance of at least one metre between each spectator. At the entrance, each visitor’s fever will be measured and anyone with a temperature above 37.5° will not be allowed to take part in the screenings.

Let’s get ready, then, for an early summer dedicated to environmental sustainability and good cinema, with many stories that we will remember for a long, long time. And during the Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2020 film festival, there will be something for everyone.

Below are all the films of the festival.

Info: the website of the Forum Austriaco di Cultura Roma