BRÜCKEN ÜBER BRÜCKEN

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by Kenan Kiliç

grade: 7

Brücken über Brücken is a lively and pulsating documentary, a precious testimony and vibrant fresco of a city – Vienna – as the heart of contemporary Central Europe and – also due to its particular geographical location – as the crossroads of many stories and cultures.

Vienna’s colours

The life of artists is not easy. It is not easy for them to find their place in the world, nor is it easy for them to undergo strict disciplines during their long training. Yet, if this is true for any artist, things become even more complicated when one must leave one’s country of origin, settle in a completely new place, learn a new language and relate to a new culture. Director Kenan Kiliç knows something about this. In his 2018 documentary Brücken über Brücken (‘bridges over bridges’), he took a close look at numerous artists from all over the world, who seem to have found their place in the world in Austria – and specifically in Vienna. With all the inevitable difficulties.

Experimental dancer and performer Aiko Kazuko Kurosaki comes from Japan and boasts an important decades-long career. South American painter Antonio Zapata stands out for his brightly coloured paintings full of references to history, literature and even the Bible. Young cellist Mela Marie Spaemann has a German mother and an African father. She has no relationship with her father – a renowned lawyer currently working in the United States – and constantly wonders how he can spend his time. And again, writer and activist Ishraga Mustafa Hamid continues to fight for women’s rights in her own country and against cruel practices such as infibulation, to which she herself was subjected as a child. And while musician Slavko Ninic has been successful for several years now with his band and considers himself to be a full Austrian citizen, actor Azrael Erdinç Akpinar continues to entertain tourists and passers-by by working as a mime in the streets of the old town and in the Prater amusement park.

Each of these artists has something interesting to tell. Each of them has a different story, for a unique, multicoloured chorus of voices that makes Brücken über Brücken a living, pulsating documentary, a precious testimony and vibrant fresco of a city – Vienna – as the heart of contemporary Central Europe, and – also due to its particular geographical location – as the crossroads of many stories and cultures.

Director Kenan Kiliç, then, interviews in this work each of the protagonists one by one, switching fluently from one story to another, showing us, from time to time, the artists at work, trying to seem, on the screen, as neutral and invisible as possible and “sinning”, from time to time and especially as we approach the finale, of a progression that slightly suffers from the lack of a necessary crescendo.

But it’s fine. Despite minor forgivable imperfections, Brücken über Brücken works. And, remarkably, it perfectly conveys the essence of what the director wanted to stage. All this makes for an important and colourful mosaic where cultures from all over the world meet and come together to become one. Striking images of contemporary Europe, which is increasingly alive and full of interesting facts, where even just during a peaceful walk through the Prater one can come across extraordinary characters. You just have to be willing to listen to them to hear how many exciting stories they have to tell.

Original title: Brücken über Brücken
Directed by: Kenan Kiliç
Country/year: Austria / 2018
Running time: 87’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Kenan Kiliç
Cinematography: Kenan Kiliç, Fesih Alpagu
Produced by: Kilic Filmproduktion

Info: the website of Brücken über Brücken; the page of Brücken über Brücken on the website of the Filmarchiv Austria; the page of Brücken über Brücken on the website of the Austrian Film Commission