LUNZ UND SEINE SEEN

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by Various Authors

grade: 7.5

The mood of Lunz und seine Seen is particularly romantic and contemplative, and unlike the directorial approach adopted in the numerous other propaganda documentaries made in those years, it aims above all to give the film its own, marked personality.

Wonderful Lunz

Numerous documentaries – all of limited running time – were produced in Austria between the 1930s and 1940s for propaganda purposes. These films – which were usually screened before a feature film – all had a similar style, with a mise-en-scène designed to show us the historical and natural beauty of a place in the style of postcards, alongside a sometimes excessively cold and alienating voice-over. And yet, from time to time, one comes across particularly poetic and aesthetically fine works. And this, precisely, is the case with Lunz und seine Seen, produced in 1934 by Österreich in Bild und Ton and recently re-presented to the audience by the Filmarchiv Austria, on the occasion of the online retrospective Kino auf Sommerfrische.

Lunz und seine Seen, then, while mainly following the approach of the numerous other documentaries of its time, is primarily characterised by its sophisticated mise en scène and its attention to even the smallest details.

After an initial focus on the small town of Lunz, at the foot of Mount Lunzberg, the camera concentrates on the natural beauty that surrounds it and, specifically, on its lakes: the Mittersee and Obersee, near the picturesque Hirschtal.

So, alongside images of tourists who, on a hot summer afternoon, are intent on rowing in a small boat, the camera immediately focuses on the local fauna, showing us suggestive images of snails and small insects that, from time to time, perch on the flowers in the vast green fields.

A mood – this of Lunz und seine Seen – that is particularly romantic and contemplative, which – unlike the directorial approach adopted in the numerous other propaganda documentaries made in those years – aims above all to give the film its own, marked personality. As much as possible, of course.

Because, in fact, wanting to focus exclusively on the artistic and cultural field, the political situation of the time – in Austria as in Germany – did not allow much freedom of expression. And even in terms of filmmaking, there were strict guidelines to follow. The important thing was to convey to the world the image of an Austria in which prosperity and cultural wealth were the real pillars.

And so, alongside a huge production of so-called Wiener Films (usually romantic costume comedies), there was an equally copious production of short documentaries such as this Lunz und seine Seen. Yet, unlike many other works, this documentary certainly shows a strong personality and a certain lyricism. And even after several years, it still manages to move and make the audience feel part of the wonderful reality of Hirschtal.

Original title: Lunz und seine Seen
Directed by: Various Authors
Country/year: Austria / 1934
Running time: 5’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Various Authors
Cinematography: Various Authors
Produced by: Österreich in Bild und Ton

Info: the website of the Filmarchiv Austria