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by Karl Köfinger
We are in Austria, between the late 1920s and early 1930s, between the two world wars. And if the consequences of the first, terrible war are still being felt strongly, there are already hints of what will happen a few years from now. How much longer will these carefree days depicted in Von Salzburg nach Lofer last?
In a crucial period
Twenty-seven. No less than twenty-seven films were made by director and film producer Karl Köfinger between the late 1920s and early 1930s for the Austrian Post Office. These short tourist documentaries – also intended for distribution abroad – were shot with the camera placed on board postal vehicles used to transport tourists on their short excursions. Among these documentaries, therefore, is also Von Salzburg nach Lofer, made in 1927 and recently re-presented to the audience by the Filmarchiv Austria on the occasion of the online retrospective Kino auf Sommerfrische.
In Von Salzburg nach Lofer, therefore, we see a cheerful group of tourists setting off on a new excursion. We start – as the title itself suggests – precisely from Salzburg, which was once exclusively for pedestrians. Large totals show us the splendour of the city, its monuments and sunny squares. Then, after a short stop, we set off again. And as one enters nature, far from the cities, the camera pays less and less attention to the tourists, concentrating, on the contrary, on the landscapes themselves.
A delicate irony and a welcome sense of lightness have always characterised Karl Köfinger’s works. The same applies, therefore, to Von Salzburg nach Lofer. Irony and lightness, in a series of appealing products for tourists from all over the world, image of a happy Austria where well-being seemed to be commonplace.
Yet the historical period in which these works were made is also particularly interesting. We find ourselves, as already stated, between the late 1920s and early 1930s, between the two world wars. And if the consequences of the first, terrible war are still being felt strongly, there are already hints of what will happen a few years from now. How much longer will these carefree days depicted in Von Salzburg nach Lofer last?
Similarly, a very important event in film history took place in 1927: the first sound film in history (The Jazz Singer, by Alan Crosland) was made in America. From this moment on, almost all films made would be sound films. And so these short documentaries by Karl Köfinger also straddle the two great eras of film history: the silent era and the sound era.
Von Salzburg nach Lofer – together with the other works made at the same time – thus stands for a delicate period of transition. And, also for this reason, it takes on an even stronger value as a precious and rare document of Austrian film history.
Original title: Von Salzburg nach Lofer
Directed by: Karl Köfinger
Country/year: Austria / 1927
Running time: 3’
Screenplay: Karl Köfinger
Cinematography: Karl Köfinger
Produced by: Ing. Köfinger-Film