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MY FATHER, THE PRINCE

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by Lukas Sturm and Lila Schwarzenberg

grade: 7

My Father, the Prince is a long journey between past and present. An often difficult and painful journey undertaken by a father and a daughter who, together, get to know each other better. A large wall is slowly filled with many photographs. The story of the Schwarzenberg family slowly comes to life on screen.

Father and daughter

The former Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Karl Schwarzenberg is a man who has lived a quite eventful life. Politician, entrepreneur, farmer, crown prince of a family raised to the imperial rank in 1670 by Emperor Leopold I, but also – and above all – father, Schwarzenberg has always remained for his family almost constantly shrouded in an aura of mystery. His daughter Lila knows something about this. Together with director Lukas Sturm, then, she has tried to explore, retrace and take a closer look at her relationship with her father in the documentary My Father, the Prince, made in 2022.

My Father, the Prince, then, is a long journey between past and present. An often difficult and painful journey undertaken by a father and a daughter who, together, get to know each other better. A large wall is gradually filled with many photographs. The story of the Schwarzenberg family slowly unfolds on screen and, together with the audience, the people involved also gradually discover important truths from the past. Director Lila Schwarzenberg immediately took this important project of hers to heart. We notice this immediately at the opening of the documentary, when she confides in front of the camera and begins to talk about how the figure of her father has always been somewhat mysterious to her.

Cinema and metacinema frequently meet in My Father, the Prince. We can already see this from the moment the director sits in front of the camera in a softly lit room with a large black wall behind her. Where will her new journey lead her? How will she and her father finally get to know each other? A constant dialogue between the two immediately takes centre stage. Images from the past, old black-and-white photographs depicting the people who, in the course of their lives, were particularly important, but also old family films enrich this intimate and personal documentary by Lila Schwarzenberg and Lukas Sturm.

The director, for her part, was never afraid to be overly emotional. On the contrary, she has from the outset been ready to confide in what has made her suffer in the past. Yet, despite this, her My Father, the Prince never comes across as excessive or dangerously rhetorical. Father and daughter meet frequently, despite being, at times, geographically distant. A long journey between Vienna, Marau (Styria), Prague and Orlik (in southern Bohemia) is meant to make them feel even closer. And this journey took a good five years, from the beginning of shooting to final editing. How will the relationship between Lila and her father Karl change after the filming of My Father, the Prince is completed? While showing cautious optimism, the director is also quite realistic and disenchanted. What they have not experienced in the past can no longer be regained, but the important thing is that, in any case, this journey of theirs will be remembered by them with love and tenderness.

Original title: Mein Vater, der Fürst
Directed by: Lukas Sturm, Lila Schwarzenberg
Country/year: Austria / 2022
Running time: 79’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Lukas Sturm, Lila Schwarzenberg
Cinematography: Christopher Beck, Duli Diemansberger, Mike Fried, Stefan Haselgruber, Nino Leitner, Matthias Meissl, Rosanna Stark, Christian Strolz, Richard Wagner
Produced by: Sabotage Films Vienna, Neuland Film

Info: the website of My Father, the Prince; the page of My Father, the Prince on iMDb; the page of My Father, the Prince on the website of the Österreichisches Filminstitut