This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

The Diagonale is pleased to announce that the Festival of Austrian Film will open on April 5 with Kurdwin Ayub’s feature film Sonne (AT 2022). After its world premiere at the Berlinale Encounters section, the Austrian premiere of the film produced by Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion will be shown on Austria’s largest temporary screen – in the Helmut List Halle. Source: press release.

Innovative gazes

Kurdwin Ayub’s Sonne is an unprecedented film of its generation, urgently relevant in terms of form and content, the ironic deconstruction of all authenticity. Simultaneous to the opening screening in Graz and in collaboration with Stadtkino Filmverleih, Sonne will be shown in selected independent film theaters all over Austria on April 5.

“With Sonne, Kurdwin Ayub presents the Diagonale an exceptional opening film. Already in her beguiling music videos, ludicrous and snappy short films, and her documentary film debut Paradies! Paradies!, Ayub demonstrated that describing the present demands extremely varied cinematic forms. In Sonne, the filmmaker condenses her aesthetically risqué maneuvers, humor, and cunning linguistic sense for youth jargon to a radical feature film. […] For Kurdwin Ayub’s current fans, Sonne is certainly a first best-of, for the curious, an invitation to get to know a new signature style in Austrian film, for her critics, the obligatory next provocation – and for the Diagonale, the best opening film to look to the future after 25 years of Diagonale in Graz. We are extremely pleased to share the film with our audience!”

— Sebastian Höglinger and Peter Schernhuber, Festival Directors

Gala premiere of Rimini by Ulrich Seidl

The day after the opening and the Austrian premiere of Kurdwin Ayub’s Sonne , for the second time, the Helmut List Halle will again become the unique setting for a prominent cinema premiere on April 6: the long awaited new feature film Rimini by Ulrich Seidl will see its Austrian premiere at the festival as a one-off screening following its world premiere in the competition of the Berlinale.

Richie Bravo (Michael Thomas), once a celebrated hit singer, hunts for his faded fame in wintertime Rimini. Lost between permanent intoxication and concerts for bus tourists, his world begins to crumble when his adult daughter suddenly enters his life. She wants money from him, but he doesn’t have any.

Tickets for the public screening of Sonne at Annenhof Kino, taking place parallel to the opening, as well as for the gala premiere of Rimini in the Helmut List Halle will be available beginning March 30, 2022.

From the Berlinale to Graz: Constantin Wulff’s For the Many – The Vienna Chamber of Labour

The Diagonale will take place from April 5 to 10, 2022, marking its 25th appearance in Graz. In the context of the anniversary edition, also the new documentary by Constantin Wulff, who directed the festival in its first edition in Graz in 1998 together with Christine Dollhofer, will have its Austrian premiere: For the Many – The Vienna Chamber of Labour , filmed in direct cinema style, celebrates its world premiere in the Forum of the Berlinale and has been chosen for the competition of the Diagonale in Graz. Wulff sedately observes and accompanies the interplay of institution and society. For the Many – The Vienna Chamber of Labour is a precise portrait of a bureaucracy in service to solidarity, an institution as seismograph of a transforming world of work.

Film, fame, festival – Kurdwin Ayub

Just like Wulff, also Kurdwin Ayub has been affiliated with the Festival of Austrian Film for many years. Since 2011, she has been represented many times and in nearly all sections of the Diagonale competition: from the performance miniatures Adele1 (AT 2011), Katzenjammer (AT 2011), sexy (AT 2013), and Video1 (AT 2014) to the animation films Die Intrige und die Archenmuscheln (AT 2010) and Armageddon (AT 2018) through the short feature Boomerang (AT 2018) and the (short) documentaries Familienurlaub (AT 2012), LOLOLOL (AT 2020) and Paradise! Paradise! (AT 2016).

The latter – an intimate, in part bizarre and sober portrait of a generation about rooting and uprooting as the fate of a single family and simultaneous mass phenomenon of the 20th and 21st centuries – was Ayub’s first long documentary, honored for best artistic cinematography at the Diagonale’16: : “With a great skill for observation and a talent for being at the right place at the right time, she consistently captures intimate key moments and, in doing so, also shows the courage to expose herself. An enthralling, tragicomic home movie about the pull of homesickness.”. (Jury statement) Like Boomerang Paradise! Paradise! will be available for viewing at the Diagonale’22 in the In Referenz series. Ayub’s father can be seen in key roles in both films as well as in the current feature film Sonne.

Kurdwin Ayub was born in Iraq in 1990. She lives and works as director and screenwriter in Vienna. From 2008 to 2013, she studied painting and experimental animation film at the University of Applied Arts as well as performative art at the Academy of Fine Arts, both in Vienna.

On the opening film SONNE by Kurdwin Ayub

Three Viennese teens in hijabs twerk and sing a pop song. A YouTube video of it brings them overnight fame, mainly among Kurdish Muslims. Yesmin, the only one of the friends who is a Kurd, gradually begins to distance herself from her culture. Nati and Bella, on the other hand, seem fascinated by a world that is foreign to them. When the girls meet two young Kurdish patriots, the situation threatens to escalate. A film about youth between social media and self-discovery, a story about rebels.

“And just as the band Tic Tac Toe broke up very dramatically, I wanted these three friends to split up with a bang”, Kurdwin Ayub recently remarked in a talk with AFC – Austrian Films.

Sonne, the suffering of the young twerkers – Catalogue text by Alexandra Zawia

“Oh life is bigger / It’s bigger than you.” Two teenagers roll around on a bed. They’re wearing hijabs. They laugh. From a cell phone, the song booms on: “And you are not me / The lengths that I will go to / The distance in your eyes.” Seductive gazes. They twerk their behinds into the camera, act like they’re kissing one another. Tongue play. “Oh no I’ve said too much / I set it up.” They push together in a corner of the room for a selfie with a third girl in the room, who films them with a cell phone. Six sexy gazes. “That’s me in the corner / That’s me in the spotlight / Losing my religion.” This opening scene of Kurdwin Ayub’s film Sonne already leaves no doubt: The “voice of a generation”? The politically most relevant perfection of “form and content”? In the words of R.E.M.: “Consider this the hint of the century.”

The Diagonale will take place from April 5 to 10, 2022. The complete Diagonale’22 festival program will be available from March 25 at 1 p.m. Ticket sales begin on March 30.

Info: the website of the Diagonale; the page of Sonne on the website of the Austrian Film Commission