eine-million-kredit-ist-normal-sagt-mein-grosvater-2006-mathes-recensione

EINE MILLION KREDIT IST NORMAL, SAGT MEIN GROSSVATER

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

by Gabriele Mathes

grade: 8

In Eine Million Kredit ist normal, sagt mein Großvater, Gabriele Mathes shows us how economy can change people’s lives forever. And so, through the story of a single family, a much broader discourse concerning the history of an entire nation is opened up. At the Viennale 2022, section Österreich real.

Memories

A happy family. Images from the past that take us by the hand into a world where any crisis seems to be a distant idea. Or maybe not? Actually, the documentary Eine Million Kredit ist normal, sagt mein Großvater – directed by Gabriele Mathes in 2006 and re-presented to the audience on the occasion of the Viennale 2022 as part of the retrospective Österreich real of the Filmarchiv Austria – plays precisely on a strong contrast between the images we see on screen and what is told by a voice-over. Let us see specifically what it is about.

In order to realise her precious little Eine Million Kredit ist normal, sagt mein Großvater, Gabriele Mathes carried out meticulous research work among her own family films. These films – all shot in Super 8 – show, in reality, decidedly idyllic family situations: children playing carefree, holidays at the seaside and in the mountains, the director’s mother smiling before the camera while her husband is filming her. An Austria of the 1970s in which well-being seems to reign in every sphere of everyday life. But how long will all this last?

Soon, the idyllic situation we have been shown will undergo a sudden change: the furniture factory belonging to the director’s father and founded by his grandfather will go bankrupt, the father will be in debt, and the former life will become only a vague memory. In Eine Million Kredit ist normal, sagt mein Großvater, therefore, the director shows us precisely this sudden change and how economy can change people’s lives forever. And so, through the story of a single family, a much broader discourse concerning the history of an entire nation is opened up.

A skillful editing knows how to exploit the images on screen very well. A purely contemplative mood takes centre stage and contrasts strongly with the strong, very strong feeling of unease conveyed by the voice-over narration. What immediately captures the attention when watching Eine Million Kredit ist normal, sagt mein Großvater, in fact, are the warm colours of the Super 8 images, reassuring scenes of family life, the carefree atmosphere of a period destined, unfortunately, to end all too soon.

In this intimate and personal documentary, Gabriele Mathes has researched everything down to the smallest detail, using her many films in a careful and competent way. So, in Eine Million Kredit ist normal, sagt mein Großvater, an important chapter of Austria’s history is depicted in a never trivial or predictable way. The strong contrast between what we see and what we hear perfectly represents the inner conflicts of those who see their lives suddenly change. And all this, even on screen, can be very, very painful.

Original title: Eine Million Kredit ist normal, sagt mein Großvater
Directed by: Gabriele Mathes
Country/year: Austria / 2006
Running time: 22’
Genre: documentary, experimental
Cast: Stefanie Dvorak
Screenplay: Gabriele Mathes
Cinematography: Gabriele Mathes
Produced by: Gabriele Mathes

Info: the page of Eine Million Kredit ist normal, sagt mein Großvater on iMDb; the page of Eine MIllion Kredit ist normal, sagt mein Großvater on the website of the sixpackfilm