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VENI VIDI VICI

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by Daniel Hoesl and Julia Niemann

grade: 8

Veni vidi vici is to all intents and purposes one of Daniel Hoesl and Julia Niemann’s most mature films (both stylistically and semantically). Or, better still, a summa of what their cinema has been to date. At the Diagonale 2024.

The world belongs to the rich

Capitalism, the (dangerous) role of money within the society in which we live, but also the importance given to particularly rich people are themes that have always interested directors Daniel Hoesl and Julia Niemann. As far as Hoesl is concerned specifically, we need only think of the feature films WINWIN (2016) and Soldier Jane (2013), but also of the documentary Davos (2020), which was also made together with Julia Niemann. In the case of Veni vidi vici, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2024 and its Austrian premiere at the Diagonale 2024, we see, therefore, how these themes find an ideal fulfilment on the movie screen through a grotesque and paradoxical story, which immediately becomes a meaningful metaphor for the present day.

This, then, is the story of the millionaire Amon Maynard (played by Laurence Rupp), who is respected by everyone and leads an apparently irreproachable life, being, among other things, very close to his family. However, almost as a hobby, he usually goes out in the evenings together with his butler (Markus Schleinzer) to kill people for no apparent reason and without even bothering to hide the evidence of the crimes. His eldest daughter (Olivia Goschler), whose narrative voice constantly accompanies us during the screening, seems to greatly admire her father and, although she doesn’t know much about his activities, she also seems ready to emulate him in every way.

And so, starting from such an absurd situation, Veni vidi vici shows us how even the most sinister actions can be somehow ‘justified’ when they are carried out by particularly rich people. Amon is an unscrupulous man, he is willing to ‘buy’ a surrogate mother in order to have another child, he has no problem ruining forever the career of those who taught him his profession and, as already mentioned, he kills ‘to find his own inner balance’. Yet, should anyone learn of his actions, they would not be believed by anyone. Just as happens to an elderly hunter, who is even sent away from the police station. Because, in fact, everyone is ready to be bribed in order to please those in power (particularly interesting in this respect is the figure of the butler, who is even a former journalist).

Can there ever be a chance of salvation for our society? In Veni vidi vici, Daniel Hoesl and Julia Niemann seem to have no doubts about this and communicate it to us through a particularly witty and sharp feature film, incredibly merciless in drawing a portrait of our world. All this, through a mise-en-scene that is both mature and sophisticated at the same time. A mise-en-scène in which the carefully studied and perfectly tidy locations create a strong counterpoint to the chaos created by the protagonist, in which the slow motion shots further emphasise the absurdity of certain situations and the ridiculousness of the characters, in which minimalist music (by Manuel Riegler and Gerhard Daurer) plays an undoubtedly important role.

Veni vidi vici, then, is to all intents and purposes one of Daniel Hoesl and Julia Niemann’s most mature films (both stylistically and semantically). Or, better still, a summa of what their cinema has been to date. And who knows how many more beautiful surprises they will have in store for us in the future. Meanwhile, even the great Ulrich Seidl, who decided to produce the film, seems to have recognised their great talent.

Original title: Veni vidi vici
Directed by: Daniel Hoesl, Julia Niemann
Country/year: Austria / 2024
Running time: 86’
Genre: drama, satirical
Cast: Laurence Rupp, Ursina Lardi, Olivia Goschler, Kyra Kraus, Tamaki Uchida, Dominik Warta, Markus Schleinzer, Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg, Zoe Straub, Alexander Stecher, Vitus Wieser
Screenplay: Daniel Hoesl
Cinematography: Gerald Kerkletz
Produced by: Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion

Info: the page of Veni vidi vici on iMDb; the page of Veni vidi vici on the website of the Diagonale; the page of Veni vidi vici on the website of the Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion