Peter Simonischek died on the night of 29-30 May, surrounded by his family at his home in Vienna. Only a few months ago, he had premiered his last film, Measures of Men, at the Berlinale. Madly in love with theatre, the actor had become a true legend in his homeland, also becoming internationally famous thanks to the feature film Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016).
Having met by chance in Volterra in the mid-1960s, the Italian language student Helmut Berger, a young Austrian from Bad Ischl, and the famous director Luchino Visconti, in Etruria to shoot Sandra (1965), were from then on intended to influence each other’s lives and to remain together until the director’s death in 1976.
Particularly accurate in its settings and sufficiently attentive to the love torments of the two young protagonists, The Life and Loves of Mozart is distinguished by a direction that, however, would have needed more closeness to the characters themselves, in order to better render their internal conflicts derived from the difficult choices they have to make. In competition at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.
Club Zero is a mercilessly sincere feature film, extremely rigorous in its mise-en-scene, which finds its ideal mood in a sharp irony. The image of society depicted here has the sharp, vivid colours of a world in which no half-measures are allowed. Just like in the cinema of Hausner, who has been minutely analysing every single aspect of this very world for years now. In competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2023.
Film adaptation of a play, Adorable Julia has the good-natured and calm irony of the W.S. Maugham novel on which it is based, with sharp dialogues and a subtle social criticism that is surprisingly topical. At times predictable, it nevertheless manages to give iconic moments, thanks to the voice and above all the thoughts of the protagonist, a very convincing Lili Palmer. In competition at the Cannes Film Festival 1962.
The Last Bridge is a deep and touching drama that, at a time when people were trying to process what had happened in the dramatic preceding years, shows us war as a completely unfair reality. A reality that when compared to the value of human beings, of every human being, reveals itself in all its weakness and wickedness. In competition at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1928, the Vossische Zeitung first published All quiet on the Western Front in serial form. Erich Maria Remarque was still an almost unknown author. At last, one got a glimpse of the war as observed by someone who had experienced it first-hand by fighting on the front. War was seen here as an event that only served to enrich the mighty.
Used to giving his characters a particularly funny and amusing touch, Josef Meinrad was actually perfectly capable of changing tone depending on the situation. And thinking back to the fact that he was originally supposed to become a priest, it is interesting to note that, in the course of his career, the actor actually played the role of the priest no less than twenty-one times.
In Paradise: Love we find all the constants of Ulrich Seidl’s cinema in a deeply intelligent, painful and merciless work. The cynicism and hypocrisy of human beings, the difference between social classes, but also – and above all – a deep loneliness and a desperate need for love are the absolute protagonists. Can there ever be an even faint chance of salvation? The director seems to have no doubt about it.