ANTARES

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by Götz Spielmann

grade: 7.5

Divided into three episodes, Antares is a complex and layered fresco of contemporary society. Three stories, three different lifestyles, one setting. Antares does not only tell us about impossible loves, desperate loves, tormented loves and secret love affairs. Antares stages Love as utopia, a constant, desperate need for love that often also leads to a deep sense of loneliness.

Under the sky of Vienna

Antares is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpio. In astrology, Scorpio is the star sign of passion. And it is precisely burning passions – together with a deep sense of loneliness and sometimes confusion – that drive the protagonists of Antares, an intense, painful, but also incredibly poetic and intimate ensemble movie directed by Götz Spielmann in 2004. A film, this one, that stages doubts, passions, fears innate in each of us. A work set in the Viennese suburbs of today, which nevertheless tells us quite universal stories.

These, then, are the stories of Eva (played by Petra Morzé) – married and with a teenage daughter, who works as a nurse and cheats on her husband with Tomasz (Andreas Patton), a mysterious man who is only just visiting Vienna – Sonja (Susanne Wuest) – engaged to Marco (Dennis Cubic) and terrified that her boyfriend might cheat on her – and, finally, Nicole (Martina Zinner), a single mother trying to start a new life, but constantly threatened by Alex (Andreas Kiendl), her ex-husband.

So many stories, so many characters. Stories that inevitably end up crossing one another, touching one another, influencing one another. Götz Spielmann tells us all these stories with care and sensitivity, without being rhetoric or judgmental, drawing inspiration from what has been done in the past (it is impossible not to think, for example, of Amores Perros by Alejandro González Iňarritu, especially with regard to a car crash at the opening of the feature), but at the same time making a completely personal film, perfectly in line with his filmography, thanks also to a vibrant eroticism and atmospheres with a welcome noir touch.

Divided into three episodes, then, Antares is a complex and layered fresco of contemporary society. Three stories, three different lifestyles, one setting (a big suburban building). Seven characters at a turning point, desperately searching for themselves, but not always finding themselves. Antares does not only tell us about impossible loves, desperate loves, tormented loves and secret love affairs. Antares stages Love as utopia, a constant, desperate need for love that often also leads to a deep sense of loneliness. Each of the characters is lonely in his or her own way. Eva, who only feels alive during her furtive encounters with Tomasz, is lonely. Tomasz, who has a family but often feels the need to run away far away, is lonely. Alfred (Hary Prinz), Eva’s husband, is lonely. He feels his wife is drifting irretrievably away from him. Even Sonja and Nicole are lonely: the former is not sure of her boyfriend’s love, the latter often has to protect herself and her child from her ex-husband by herself. All of them have much more in common than it may initially seem. Each of them is guilty and innocent at the same time. Will there ever be any chance of salvation for them?

Götz Spielmann has given life to complex, extremely alive and pulsating characters, thanks also to an excellent cast. It is up to the actors to make the entire feature film work. Spielmann has paid particular attention to delicate and meticulous work with the actors themselves. And the results are evident. The camera follows each one of them faithfully, opting for a minimalist, yet attentive to every single detail directorial approach, as evidenced by objects, sometimes claustrophobic flats, photographs taken in a hotel room or cars speeding through the streets of Vienna at night. A Vienna that becomes a silent witness to secrets, passions and betrayals that hardly anyone will ever know about.

Original title: Antares
Directed by: Götz Spielmann
Country/year: Austria / 2004
Running time: 105’
Genre: drama, ensemble movie
Cast: Petra Morzé, Andreas Patton, Hary Prinz, Susanne Wuest, Dennis Cubic, Andreas Kiendl, Martina Zinner, Xenia Ferchner, Angelika Niedetzky, Johannes Thanheiser, Sasica Jovic, Melanie Kocsan, Jay Lee, Michaela Obertscheider, Wolfram Schmidt
Screenplay: Götz Spielmann
Cinematography: Martin Gschlacht
Produced by: Lotus Film, TeamFilm Produktion, Filmfonds Wien, Österreichisches Filminstitut, ORF

Info: the page of Antares on iMDb