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FEAR BLOWS WITH THE WIND

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by Manfred Kaufmann

grade: 7

In Fear blows with the Wind, anguish is the common thread linking all the protagonists. Regardless of their age and social status. Manfred Kaufmann, for his part, has opted for an extremely realistic and essential directorial approach. Vienna is shown to us in a way that is quite different from the classic postcard images that are usually spread all over the world. As part of the retrospective Keine Angst by the Filmarchiv Austria.

Anguish and loneliness in Vienna

Anxiety. Fear. The terrible feeling of not making it and of being constantly destined to fail. The world we live in often seems to give us no certainty, especially when living in a big city and when society always expects certain things from us. The protagonists of the feature film Fear blows with the Wind, directed by Manfred Kaufmann in 1983 and recently re-presented to the audience by the Filmarchiv Austria on the occasion of the retrospective Keine Angst, focusing on Austrian cinema of the 1980s, know something about this.

In Fear blows with the Wind, therefore, we witness the story of Wendelin, a shy composer who is struggling to find a stable job and who meets by chance at a dentist’s practice the young schoolteacher Agnes, who is pregnant and immediately feels that she has many things in common with him. Will the man manage to find the courage to live his life to the full, thanks also to Agnes’ support?

Anxiety, however, is not only the protagonist of Wendelin’s life. In Fear blows with the Wind, in fact, we also get to know Johannes, a nine-year-old boy who, thanks also to the advice of his teacher Agnes, learns to stop being afraid by inventing new stories. Then, of course, there is also a clerk at the employment office who seems to find no solution to her problems, a young man who tries in vain to rob a pharmacy, a policeman who cannot find the courage to do his duty, and a man who has always behaved like a coward and even ends up accidentally running over a woman with his car.

In Fear blows with the Wind, therefore, anguish is the common thread that connects all the protagonists. Regardless of their age and social status. Manfred Kaufmann, for his part, in order to stage all this, has opted for an extremely realistic and essential directorial approach. A directorial approach in which the classic Brechtian distanciation adopted by the actors is one of the first elements that strikes us. Vienna is shown to us in a way that is quite different from the classic postcard images that are usually spread around the world. The streets are often grey and anonymous, inside underground stations people simply stop to watch when someone is beaten up without lending them a helping hand, sometimes the furniture of the apartments, however, denotes a certain creativity on the part of those who live there, which, however, never seems to find true fulfilment.

Is there ever even a faint hope for our protagonists? Perhaps, unfortunately, not even the birth of a child will change things. Manfred Kaufmann knows this well. And while a black-and-white photo taken in an underground station reminds us of happy times, the blood gushing from veins and colouring the water of a bathtub red leaves us sadly bewildered. Fear blows with the Wind is a realistic and merciless portrait of 1980s Vienna that nevertheless stages a universal story. Not one, but many stories that could take place in any other big city at a time when every certainty was slowly beginning to vanish.

Original title: Weht die Angst, so weht der Wind
Directed by: Manfred Kaufmann
Country/year: Austria / 1983
Running time: 86’
Genre: drama, ensemble movie
Cast: Hubert Scheibl, Romana Scheffknecht, Eva Pilz, Arif Mendelssohn, Robert Trappl, Hilde Berger, Robert Hunger-Bühler
Screenplay: Manfred Kaufmann
Cinematography: Rudolf Palla
Produced by: Extrafilm

Info: the page of Fear blows with the Wind on iMDb; the page of Fear blows with the Wind on the website of the Filmarchiv Austria; the page of Fear blows with the Wind on the website of the Austrian Film Commission