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MARIAZELL

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by Various Authors

grade: 7

Halfway between an actual advertising film and a documentary, Mariazell shows us in full, in just two minutes, the small town much loved by the Austrians, complete with a focus on the most characteristic sites of the place.

Not far from Vienna…

The tourist destination of Mariazell has always fascinated numerous visitors, mainly from Vienna, eager to relax, even if only for a short day trip. And if one of the first documentaries showing us the beauty of the place – as well as being considered a true milestone of Austrian cinema today – is Österreichische Alpenbahnen – Eine Fahrt nach Mariazell (made in 1910 and produced by the Österreichisch-Ungarische Kino-Industrie), numerous films have been made over the years, mainly to enhance the beauty of the place in order to appeal to even more tourists.

In this regard, the short documentary Mariazell – made in 1957 – is part of a long series of documentary films that were mostly conceived for pre-show screening, as was often common especially in the 1950s and 1960s.

Halfway between an actual advertising film and a documentary, Mariazell shows us in full, in just two minutes, the small town much loved by the Austrians, complete with a focus on the most characteristic sites of the place.

And so, numerous tourists thronging the squares, people chatting cheerfully seated at a cafe table, evocative pan shots and totals immediately become the absolute protagonists of this short and precious documentary. Further enhancing the value of this work is the accurate, pastel-coloured cinematography, a hallmark of the numerous films of this genre that were still being copiously produced several years after World War II and which, at times, is almost reminiscent even of some of the most recent Wiener Films.

Despite the fact, therefore, that such works are considered almost minor products within the vast and varied Austrian cinema of those years, one cannot fail to recognise in Mariazell and in numerous other similar documentaries an undoubted historical value.

What, in fact, films like this one witness today is, above all, the desire to recover, to start again even stronger than before, at a time in history when, despite the fact that several years had already passed, the consequences of World War II were still being felt strongly and painfully. Never before had there been such a desire for prosperity and to focus on the beauty of the place as there was at this time, along with an equally strong desire to rediscover the new, to tread new paths, to find new forms of artistic expression. And as confirmation of this, the numerous artistic and film movements that emerged in Austria in precisely these years are particularly significant. A sign of an Austria that was more alive and pulsating than ever and that had a lot to say and share.

Original title: Mariazell
Directed by: Various Authors
Country/year: Austria / 1957
Running time: 2’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Various Authors
Cinematography: Various Authors
Produced by: Various Authors

Info: the website of the Filmarchiv Austria