With an animation that is indeed essential and minimalist, but also extremely colourful and rich in detail, Frida und Sisi Partner in Crime by Regine Kafaeder is an extremely free, living and pulsating work in its short but effective running time. At the festival Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2023.
What would happen if two personalities like Frida Kahlo and Elisabeth of Austria met? Known (also) for their rebellious and non-conformist character, the famous Mexican painter and the Empress of Austria and Hungary have become true legends over the years. To the point of inspiring, in turn, numerous artists all over the world. Naturally, therefore, the film world has also shown interest in them for years, although there has never been a film starring them both, at least until today. Director Regine Kafaeder has thought of this, however, with her animated short film Frida und Sisi Partner in Crime, which has already been presented as part of the Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Film Festival programme in Vienna and will have its Italian premiere at the festival Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2023.
In Frida und Sisi Partner in Crime, therefore, we see how the two of them go wild, experimenting with every possible experience and ‘freeing’ themselves completely from all conventions (and even from their husbands, Franz Joseph of Austria and Diego Rivera, who are here manoeuvred by themselves like puppets). A trip to the beach, but also an Amy Winehouse concert and – why not? – a night out on the town trying out new weapons may, therefore, be the winning solutions to finally find happiness.
Regine Kafaeder, for her part, has made use of the numerous portraits (and self-portraits) that depict them, in order to create a proper harmony between the colours of Mexican culture (starting precisely from Kahlo’s paintings) and the art of Gustav Klimt, without forgetting, at the same time, numerous elements of pop culture and even Sandro Botticelli, in whose Venus our Sissi is identified, while Frida portrays her. With its minimalist and essential, but also extremely colourful and rich in detail animation, Frida und Sisi Partner in Crime is an extremely free, living and pulsating work in its short, but effective running time.
While, therefore, Timon Zipser’s music lends dynamism to the whole, the story of the two protagonists happily draws to a close. And so the palace of Schönbrunn and Casa Azul are connected by a bridge. It matters little if on this bridge Franz Joseph of Austria and Diego Rivera attempt to win back their wives by serenading them: Frida and Sissi seem to have chosen a life of their own by now. And only those who are willing to accept their new way of life are allowed to enter their home. The death of patriarchy and the beginning of a new understanding of reality. Regine Kafaeder knows exactly what she wants to communicate to us, and with this precious little Frida und Sisi Partner in Crime, she makes us want to discover all the beautiful surprises she has in store for us in the future.
Original title: Frida und Sisi Partner in Crime
Directed by: Regine Kafaeder
Country/year: Austria / 2022
Running time: 7’
Screenplay: Regine Kafaeder
Cinematography: Regine Kafaeder
Produced by: Regine Kafaeder