S. M. KAISER FRANZ JOSEPH I. AUF DER GAMSJAGD BEI ISCHL

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by Various Authors

grade: 7.5

Still considered one of the most fascinating documentaries about Emperor Franz Joseph, S M. Kaiser Franz Joseph I. auf der Gamsjagd bei Ischl shows us a whole day spent by the Emperor at his residence in Ischl, during which he organised a chamois hunt.

Hunting with the Emperor

While on December 28, 1895, Lumière brothers first screened their films at the Salon des Capucines in Paris, in Austria it would take a few more years before the seventh art was directly tried out. And if the first Austrian film in film history – Von Stufe zu Stufe by Heinz Hanus – was a tender love story set on a hot summer afternoon, documentary cinema – following precisely the example of the Lumières – was one of the most widespread film forms in the country. And, thus, S. M. Kaiser Franz Joseph I. auf der Gamsjagd bei Ischl – made in 1910 – was part of a series of documentaries dedicated to the imperial family, on which many filmmakers of the time used to focus.

Still considered to be one of the most fascinating documentaries about Emperor Franz Joseph, S. M. Kaiser Franz Joseph I. auf der Gamsjagd bei Ischl – running only twelve minutes – shows us a whole day spent by the Emperor at his residence in Ischl, during which he organised a chamois hunt with some of his local acquaintances.

A documentary, then, that shows us step by step the various moments of the day, starting, in fact, with a pan shot of the imperial villa, before the moment when the Emperor himself – in front of the entrance to his residence – personally welcomes his guests, and ending with the actual hunt and the return home, at around 7.30 p.m.

It is no coincidence that S. M. Kaiser Franz Joseph I. auf der Gamsjagd bei Ischl is still considered one of the most precious and comprehensive documentaries about Franz Joseph. Because, in fact, on this occasion we get to see a moment from the private life of the Emperor himself, in a very unusual and rather rare document, preserved by the Filmarchiv Austria and recently shown as part of the retrospective Kino auf Sommerfrische.

And as was the case with most of the documentaries produced at the time, we find a rather elementary, but essential direction, with cameramen who, in this case, were even allowed to get close to the emperor, in order to make the whole thing more real, more human.

During S. M. Kaiser Franz Joseph I. auf der Gamsjagd bei Ischl someone occasionally looks into the camera or even seems to say hello to the camera itself. Cinema, after all, existed for only a few years and even just seeing a cameraman intent on his work – and often also intent on filming official events – could seem something totally extraordinary. This, too, makes precious historical documents like this even more fascinating. Images of a bygone time that, thanks to the seventh art, we can re-experience as often as we like.

Original title: S. M. Kaiser Franz Joseph I. auf der Gamsjagd bei Ischl
Directed by: Various Authors
Country/year: Austria / 1910
Running time: 12’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Various Authors
Cinematography: Various Authors
Produced by: Various Authors

Info: the website of the Filmarchiv Austria