Reality and fiction constantly alternate in Florian Flicker’s No Name City. Visitors have an idyllic impression of the place, while the camera, at the same time, is ready to reveal its every secret. Within the retrospective Österreich real of the Filmarchiv Austria.
Like in a western film
There is a little reality about thirty kilometres south of Vienna, where one almost has the impression of being on the set of a western film. In this little reality everyone can be involved in shoot-outs, bank robberies or can even simply go horse riding. Everything, of course, happens for make-believe and the audience, each time, is thrilled by these new, unusual experiences they can have here. This reality is called No Name City. Here, every day a small group of workers ensures that visitors from all over Austria can experience something totally new and unusual. But is it really that simple to manage? Director Florian Flicker – together with Georg Misch – observed closely this small community of workers. His experience resulted in the 2006 documentary No Name City, which was recently re-presented to the audience on the occasion of the Filmarchiv Austria’s retrospective Österreich real.
In No Name City people have fun, have the opportunity to spend even a few hours in total freedom and even have the impression of being in another century. Everything seems to flow peacefully and quietly. Yet, things are not always as they seem. The filmmakers spent an entire summer in No Name City and thus got to see what goes on “behind the scenes'” The inhabitants of the town – which is already quite unusual in terms of the location itself, totally fenced off by palisades and right next to the Wöllersdorf landfill site – lead almost a double life. During the day they play predetermined roles in order to entertain the audience. In the evening, they can finally be themselves, but, at the same time, numerous other problems come up.
It is not easy to manage a reality like No Name City. Within such a singular world that every day risks closing down for good, the struggle for survival is always a constant. And so, once again, the eternal struggle between rich and poor, but also simply among people, gets the better of everything. Florian Flicker, for his part, has shown himself to be immediately close to his protagonists, skilfully avoiding any rhetoric and relying entirely on extreme realism, through which the everyday life of the protagonists is constantly shown to us without any filter.
Reality and fiction alternate continuously in No Name City. Visitors have an idyllic image of such a place, while the camera, at the same time, is ready to reveal its every secret. Moments of crisis as well as moments of pleasant togetherness thus give life to an honest and sincere documentary that, from time to time, almost takes the form of a comedy with a bitter aftertaste. An extremely lively and vibrant comedy that, in the uncertainty of what it tells us, perhaps finds its greatest strength. At night, only the lights of the inn in No Name City are still on. Even the sunset balloon rides are now over. Now it is time to relax after a long working day. Tomorrow it will be time to start dealing with all the problems of everyday life again. And maybe we will also find time to sing a cheerful country song.
Original title: No Name City
Directed by: Florian Flicker
Country/year: Austria / 2006
Running time: 86’
Screenplay: Florian Flicker
Cinematography: Birgit Gudjonsdottir
Produced by: Mischief Films