erwin-and-julia-1990-erwin-und-julia-spielmann-recensione-review-kritik

ERWIN AND JULIA

      Comments Off on ERWIN AND JULIA

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

by Götz Spielmann

grade: 7.5

In Erwin and Julia, each of the protagonists seems never to be able to realise their dreams. Despite all the potential of the city of Vienna. Erwin, Wolf, but also Claudia and Karin live almost in a kind of limbo, perfectly aware of what they want to become, but somehow unable to achieve their goals. And what if their own goals are, in reality, mere illusions?

Where dreams come true

Vienna: a big European city. A city that has much to offer to those who are about to experience it for the first time. A lively, cosmopolitan city in which even the most unrealisable dreams seem to find their fulfilment. It was to Vienna that director Götz Spielmann dedicated in 1990 his first feature film, Erwin and Julia, which he described as a film about his beloved city.

It is in Vienna that young Erwin (played by Heinz Weixelbraun) hopes to realise his dream of becoming an actor by joining a prestigious acting academy. Arriving directly from a small provincial town, the young man rents a room in the flat of Wolf (Wolf Bachofner), a writer in the midst of a creative crisis who lives with his girlfriend Claudia (Oda Thormeyer). After failing the academy admission exam, Erwin will get a job in a restaurant, while in a café he will meet the sensitive Karin (Julia Stemberger), who lives with her grandmother and suffers because of an impossible love. Erwin, who had failed to make himself convincing as Romeo during the audition, seems finally to have found his Juliet. But will everything really be that simple?

In Erwin and Julia, each of the protagonists seems, in fact, never to succeed in realising their dreams. Despite all the potential of the city of Vienna. Erwin, Wolf, but also Claudia and Karin live almost in a kind of limbo, perfectly aware of what they want to become, but somehow unable to achieve their goals. And what if their own goals are, in reality, mere illusions?

And so we immediately find all the typical themes of Götz Spielmann’s cinema, which will characterise not only the feature films made in the future, but which also played a leading role in his first short films, including the excellent Vergiss Sneider! (1987), in which, precisely, the protagonists, ‘prisoners’ in one of the halls of the Schönbrunn Palace, seem to have no specific aims, are obsessed by events that never happened in the past and, moreover, even seem to be the last living beings on earth. Or, at least, that is what they believe.

From both a directorial and narrative point of view, Erwin and Julia is much more classical and linear. Yet, the themes are the same. Götz Spielmann has rendered their inner torments with grace and elegance and made a nocturnal Vienna, but also empty flats, underground stations where one can stop and reflect undisturbed and chaotic restaurants, perfect co-protagonists. Will young Erwin, Wolf, Karin and Claudia ever manage to find their longed-for serenity? Alongside so many uncertainties and painful love torments, there are nevertheless new and important friendships to make the days better. Just like the friendship between Erwin and Wolf. Only a few years after Erwin and Julia, Heinz Weixelbraun and Wolf Bachofner, who mainly work in theatre and television, will work together for a long time in Inspector Rex. But that, of course, is another story.

Original title: Erwin und Julia
Directed by: Götz Spielmann
Country/year: Austria / 1990
Running time: 101’
Genre: drama, romance
Cast: Heinz Weixelbraun, Julia Stemberger, Wolf Bachofner, Wolfgang Böck, Oda Thormeyer, Hilde Berger, Holger Gotha
Screenplay: Götz Spielmann
Cinematography: Peter Zeitlinger
Produced by: Allegro Film

Info: the page of Erwin and Julia on iMDb; the page of Erwin and Julia on the website of the Austrian Film Commission