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by Sebastian Brauneis

grade: 7

With Die Vermieterin, Sebastian Brauneis has once again made something totally unique. A hilarious and moving work, in which there is also – and above all – an important social discourse. At the Diagonale’23.

Home sweet Home

There are Marlene Hauser, Lukas Watzl, Margarethe Tiesel and Michou Friesz. There is a well-coordinated team of collaborators madly in love with cinema. And, of course, there are the skilfulness and passion of Sebastian Brauneis, who has been making low-budget films for years, each of which is particularly noteworthy and not afraid to tread new paths, to experiment with new languages, to give us completely unconventional stories that, at the same time, deal with rather topical and urgent issues. And so, also in Die Vermieterin, Brauneis’ newest work, premiered at the Diagonale’23, we see how the director has once again created something totally unique. A hilarious and moving work, in which there is also – and above all – an important social discourse.

This is the story of Johanna (played by Marlene Hauser), who works in theatre and who, precisely because of her job, has difficulty finding a flat to rent because of the three ‘golden rules’ followed by every landlord when looking for tenants (‘no artistic jobs, no self-employment, no pets’). Meanwhile, Liliana (Margarethe Tiesel) and Adelheid (Michou Friesz), two wealthy women who own several furnished flats in Vienna and Lower Austria, are looking for a way to earn more money, not just living on the 3900 euros of their widows’ pensions. A young real estate agent (Lukas Watzl) could help Liliana in this regard. The only problem is that the two plan to act rather dishonestly and for Johanna, who in the meantime has managed to rent a flat from Liliana, things will become very difficult.

Die Vermieterin, therefore, stages with (apparent) lightness and irony the eternal class struggle between the wealthiest people and those who, on the other hand, have to struggle every day to be able to even pay the rent. The real estate market is represented here as a ruthless reality with little consideration for the human beings. Johanna, for her part, fights. She fights when she has to deal with her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, she fights when even her best friend seems not to understand her needs, she fights when she finds herself without a job and has to start everything from the beginning. The resilience of those who have nothing in life compared to those who always want more is brought here to the fore. And once again the cinema of Sebastian Brauneis shows itself to be close to those who, every day, with sacrifice and passion, struggle to realise their dreams.

A brave and skilful direction is the first thing that stands out when watching Die Vermieterin. While Johanna is absorbed in her thoughts, she suddenly addresses the audience directly. And while a song sung by a worker intent on renovating the façade of the building where the protagonist lives immediately makes us think of Italy and conveys a welcome good mood, sporadic animation inserts make everything even more sparkling and dynamic. Sebastian Brauneis is not afraid to dare, and with his Die Vermieterin he has made an extremely intelligent feature film that is as fresh as a spring breeze. There is always time to think about everyday problems. In the meantime, a concert by Voodoo Jürgens can certainly brighten up the evening.

Original title: Die Vermieterin
Directed by: Sebastian Brauneis
Country/year: Austria / 2023
Running time: 102’
Genre: comedy, drama, mistery
Cast: Marlene Hauser, Margarethe Tiesel, Lukas Watzl, Michou Friesz
Screenplay: Sebastian Brauneis, Helmut Emersberger
Cinematography: Sebastian Brauneis
Produced by: Studio Brauneis

Info: the page of Die Vermieterin on the website of the Diagonale; the page of Die Vermieterin on iMDb