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VERONIKA FRANZ AND SEVERIN FIALA – THE LEGENDARY “DOUBLE F”

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Horror, psychological thriller, arthouse cinema and now also historical testimony. The cinematic contribution of Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala stands out in this continuum capable of expanding in several directions, a guarantee of anxiety and suspense, which will amaze and disturb us also at the Berlinale 2024, where they will present The Devil’s Bath in competition.

Venice, Berlin and much more…

The Devil’s Bath, the newest film by the duo with the double F, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, will be screened in competition at the Berlinale 2024, which will take place from February 15 to 25, 2024. The film, a drama about women in 1750s Europe, also represents the third collaboration of the two Viennese authors who, at some point in their lives, met and, from that moment on, began writing and directing together. As is often the case, however, it was not all by chance. Or rather, let us say that fate, in this case, has a name and a surname: Ulrich Seidl.

Ulrich Seidl

After studying German studies and philosophy, Veronika Franz started working initially as a film critic and columnist for the newspaper Kurier and then she founded, together with Ulrich Seidl, the production company Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion GmBH.. Severin Fiala, for his part, studied screenwriting at the Filmakademie Wien and is the nephew of Ulrich Seidl. Veronika Franz has co-written all of Ulrich Seidl’s major films, from the successful Dog Days to the RiminiSparta combo, including the Paradise trilogy , while Severin Fiala specialises in co-productions, having started, after founding Ölfilm Prouductions together with Valentin Fiala, Nikolaus Eckhard and Klaus Haidl, with The End of Walnut Grove, a short film produced by the whole collective. After the documentary about Peter Kern (Kern), the double F’s official debut in 2012, the award-winning Franz Fiala duo won critical acclaim with the psychological horror film Goodnight Mommy, which premiered in Venice and won the Méliés d’Or.

Writing

The duo’s first feature is characterised by dark and disturbing writing, framing itself somewhere between existential drama and psychological horror. The importance of writing and writing skills can also be traced in the second feature, The Lodge, made in 2019. The result of a co-production between the United States and Great Britain, the film presented at the Sundance Film Festival traces the atmosphere of turmoil and strong visual impact of Goodnight Mommy, , confirming Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s ability as writers of psychological and disturbing horror, a kind of Viennese Dario Argento.

Psychology

Just as for the director of Suspiria, just talking about horror does not render the quality of the works. Also labelled as psychological thrillers and arthouse films, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s features explore the traumas of society, bringing to light – as if Indiana Jones became a therapist – the innermost emotions and fears that hide within each of us. By their own admission, their films must “attack, disturb and tell us something about the world”, in order to become the films “that we ourselves would like to watch in cinemas”.

And it is precisely from this premise that shooting – momentarily interrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic – began on The Devil’s Bath, a third feature film that promises, once again, intense and disturbing images full of the unsettling symbolism that has become a hallmark of the double F. As they told Die Presse, the film is based on documented historical events, in which a woman from the Mühlviertel in 1750 told the inquisitor what drove her to commit her crime.

So, in short: horror, psychological thriller, arthouse cinema and now also historical testimony. In the midst of this continuum, capable of expanding in multiple directions, stands the cinematic contribution of Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, a guarantee of disquiet and suspense, waiting to amaze and disturb us also in Berlin in 2024. Alles Gute und viel Glück!

Info: the page of Veronika Franz on iMDb; the page of Severin Fiala on iMDb