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RICKERL

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by Adrian Goiginger

grade: 7

Rickerl is the story of not one, but many people who struggle every day for their dreams and for the people they love to be happy. The story of those who have made and continue to make so many mistakes, but who only with the help of those they love can overcome every difficulty. An all-Austrian story in which the Viennese dialect and Austropop music make everything even more colorful. At the Viennale 2023.

Father and son

Director Adrian Goiginger has been popular in recent years with feature films such as The Best of all Worlds (2017) and The Fox (2022), which have been extraordinarily successful in Austria, winning over viewers of all ages. Voodoo Jürgens is Austria’s most acclaimed singer-songwriter, who has been involved in the world of the seventh art for some years now, taking part in feature films both as a composer and as an actor. What would happen, then, if two such personalities met? Soon said. From the encounter between Goiginger and Jürgens came the feature film Rickerl, which premiered in Austria at the Viennale 2023.

Rickerl, therefore, is inspired in part by the very life of Voodoo Jürgens and tells the story of singer-songwriter Rickerl Bohacek, who is unable to find a steady job, but continues to dream of one day finally being successful with his songs. He is, in fact, very talented, yet he does not seem to make the most of this talent of his, continuing to compose music that he writes on old sheets of paper and spending most of his evenings drinking in a pub with his friends. The only person who could bring him to the right path is his six-year-old son Dominik (Ben Winkler), who currently lives with his mom Viki (Agnes Hausmann), but who always very happily spends weekends with his dad, sharing with him his passion for music and adventures in nature.

In Rickerl, therefore, many of the constants of Adrian Goiginger’s cinema are present, including the importance of family (where there is no shortage, however, of particularly conflicting relationships) and a constant search for happiness by following often unachievable ideals. Yet despite the fact that complex and rather important themes are brought up, the feature film is also characterized by a welcome irony, thanks also to the excellent performance of Voodoo Jürgens, who is extremely spontaneous and self-ironic even in the moments when he seems to find no solution for his problems.

Particularly noteworthy, moreover, is the special harmony between Jurgens himself and young Winkler as father and son. Despite a complex relationship, in which adventures on the banks of the Danube alternate with moments of panic in which those who have to behave as adults seem to forget their roles, the two performers gave us tender and delicate moments and even a particularly moving scene, in which little Dominik sings a song for his father (interestingly, the words of the song were written by Ben Winkler himself).

Adrian Goiginger, for his part, has made a feature film, yes, with a classic and linear approach, but he has at the same time wisely avoided any rhetoric and has not overly focused on emotionalism, rightly leaving precise questions unanswered. His Rickerl is the story not of one, but of many people who struggle every day for their dreams and for the people they love to be happy. The story of those who have made and continue to make so many mistakes, but who only with the help of those they love can overcome every difficulty. An all-Austrian story in which the Viennese dialect and Austropop music make it all the more colorful.

Original title: Rickerl
Directed by: Adrian Goiginger
Country/year: Austria, Germany / 2023
Running time: 104’
Genee: drama, comedy
Cast: Voodoo Jürgens, Ben Winkler, Agnes Hausmann, Rudi Larsen, Nicole Beutler, Claudius von Stolzmann, Alex Miksch, Simon Morzé, Der Nino aus Wien
Screenplay: Adrian Goiginger
Cinematography: Paul Sprinz
Produced by: 2010 Entertainment, Giganten Film

Info: the page of Rickerl on iMDb; the page of Rickerl on the website of the Viennale; the page of Rickerl on the website of the Austrian Film Commission