OUTSIDE NOISE

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by Ted Fendt

grade: 7.5

Ted Fendt’s Outside Noise depicts the normal everyday life of many young women who have yet to discover what will become of their lives. The calmness and contemplative rhythms of the mise en scène provide an excellent counterpoint to the inner torments of the protagonists. At the Viennale 2021.

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Wandering the city streets in order to make sense of one’s day. The difficulty in falling asleep, anxiety, friends with whom to share thoughts and emotions. One life, many lives in a kind of delicate transition phase. Three cities – New York, Berlin and Vienna – and a protagonist with whom, after all, we all identify a little. All this happens in the feature film Outside Noise, directed by Ted Fendt and premiered at the Viennale 2021.

Daniela (played by Daniela Zahlner) suffers from insomnia. This happens whether in Vienna, where she lives, or in New York or Berlin, where she travels to visit some of her friends. She will discover she has a lot in common with them. Thanks to their company she will be able to confront one another, to get to know one another better, to try to make sense of her empty days.

City noises, the deafening silence of the night, long talks at home, in the park, in the street. Ted Fendt’s Outside Noise depicts the normal everyday life of many young women who have yet to discover what will become of their lives. The calmness and contemplative rhythms of the mise-en-scène provide an excellent counterpoint to the inner torments of the protagonists. The director, for his part, is not afraid to take his time, but shows us reality as it is, without any filter. A reality made even more precious by images shot entirely on film and with the use of a shoulder-mounted camera, which, precisely because of this peculiarity, are marvellously timeless.

And time, in fact, is another central element in Outside Noise. Time goes by, the days seem all the same, the questions everyone asks about their lives and futures never seem to be answered. The directorial approach adopted by Fendt inevitably makes us think of the cinema of Éric Rohmer, but also, in general, of most of the films of the Nouvelle Vague. The protagonists’ walks through the streets of Vienna or New York, the long chats about art, people, books, museums, the search for a job are moments that in their simplicity magically become cinema.

And, in fact, Outside Noise wants to do just that: confront anxiety, fears and, not least, insomnia through beauty. A beauty that not only concerns the topics dealt with by the young women during their conversations, but which above all represents the tender perfection of every moment they experience, lovingly filmed by Ted Fendt’s camera. A simple and timeless beauty, which takes us by the hand into a world in which we immediately feel at home. A world in which it is never too late to ask questions about one’s own life, or even simply to feel like a child again, running amusedly in the park after having thrown a kebab sandwich at someone.

Original title: Outside Noise
Directed by: Ted Fendt
Country/year: Germany, Austria, South Korea / 2021
Running time: 61’
Genre: drama
Cast: Daniela Zahlner, Mia Sellmann, Natascha Manthe, Genevieve Havemeyer-King, Hani Alaraj, Manu Bäuerle, Katharina Maria Grabner, Ted Fendt, Stefanie Zingl
Screenplay: Ted Fendt, Mia Sellmann, Daniela Zahlner
Cinematography: Sage Einarsen, Britni West, Jenny Lou Ziegel
Produced by: Flaneur Films, Jeonju Cinema Project, KGP Filmproduktion

Info: the page of Outside Noise on iMDb; the page of Outside Noise on the website of the Viennale