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WHAT A FEELING

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by Kat Rohrer

grade: 7

Kat Rohrer’s What a Feeling is a brilliant comedy that, through paradoxical and hilarious scenes and – above all – thanks to the talent of the two protagonists, deals with topics that are decidedly delicate and much more complex than they might initially seem. At the Diagonale 2024.

The courage to be free

Already the moment we read the title of Viennese director Kat Rohrer‘s newest feature film – What a Feeling – we are reminded of Irene Cara’s famous song from the feature film Flashdance (Adrian Lyne, 1983). And, in fact, that song will have great significance for Marie Theres (played by Caroline Peters) and Fa (Proschat Madani), the protagonists of the film, which had its Austrian premiere at the Diagonale 2024. Let’s see why.

Marie Theres is an established doctor and one evening, out of the blue, her husband leaves her. Desperate, the woman starts wandering apparently aimlessly through the streets of the city and ends up in a nightclub, where she meets Fa, who had almost run her over with his car that same day. There is immediately a great feeling between the two and soon their friendship turns into a passionate love story. But how difficult is it today to declare one’s homosexuality to one’s family and to the people in our daily lives? Even when one lives in a cosmopolitan city like Vienna, it is not always easy to make certain choices and to be oneself.

Magnetic protagonists of What a Feeling, Marie Theres and Fa are two seemingly very different women. The former is from Berlin, moved to Vienna many years earlier after falling in love with her ex-husband and has devoted her entire life to her family and her work. Often forgetting to devote time to herself. Fa, on the other hand, is of Iranian origin, works as a carpenter, usually looks after her elderly mother (who always hopes that her daughter will one day marry and have children of her own) and is afraid of any possible long-term relationship. If, therefore, it is true that opposites attract, the two might really belong together. But how much are they willing to sacrifice for their love story?

What a Feeling, therefore, is a clever comedy that, through paradoxical and hilarious scenes and – above all – thanks to the talent of the two protagonists, deals with topics that are decidedly delicate and much more complex than they might initially seem. Homosexuality, what society expects of us, but also – as we can well imagine – homophobia and abuse at work are particularly topical issues, which often play or have played the leading role in many of the feature films shot in recent years. And yet, in What a Feeling all this is staged in a light-hearted and never rhetorical way, within a work in which nobody is perfect, in which everyone has their faults and their fears, in which in every situation you (almost) always find an amusing twist.

And so, Irene Cara’s famous song, which made it possible for a desperate Marie Theres to finally unleash herself in a liberating dance, finds its perfect setting in a feature film, this interesting What a Feeling, which immediately looks like a hymn to love and freedom. The beautiful Vienna at night, observed with wonder by the two protagonists, then acted as a precious added value.

Original title: What a Feeling
Directed by: Kat Rohrer
Country/year: Austria / 2024
Running time: 110’
Genre: comedy, romance
Cast: Caroline Peters, Proschat Madani, Anton Noori, Gohar Nurbachsch, Nicole Ansari-Cox, Allegra Tinnefeld, Heikko Deutschmann, Rafael Haider, Barbara Spitz, Petra Morzé, Joseph Lorenz, Ines Kratzmüller, Adriane Gradziel, Sona MacDonald, Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg, Doris Hindinger, Katrin Lux, Iva Lukic, Lucy Landymore, Matthias Kress, Klaus Fischer, Nima Immanuel Farsadpoor, Metamorkid, Roberta Malizia, Miriam Weiss, Joachim Brandl, Markus Tavakoli, Hevi Akay, Marina Lackovic, Manuel Lugmeyer, Anneliese Rohrer
Screenplay: Kat Rohrer
Cinematography: Michael Schindegger
Produced by: Praherfilm, Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion

Info: the page of What a Feeling on iMDb; the page of What a Feeling on the website of the Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion; the page of What a Feeling on the website of the Praherfilm; the page of What a Feeling on the website of the Austrian Film Commission