when-i-went-to-visit-the-boys-2024-besuch-im-burgenland-schlosser-recensione-review-kritik

WHEN I WENT TO VISIT THE BOYS

      Comments Off on WHEN I WENT TO VISIT THE BOYS

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

by Katrin Schlösser

grade: 7

With a simple and essential directorial approach, When I went to visit the Boys shows us a little rural reality, thus offering us a brief and intense journey into a timeless world. At the Diagonale 2024.

Once upon a time in Burgenland…

How is life changing in a world where globalisation and technology are now commonplace? Nowadays, there seem to be very few people who categorically refuse to adapt to new rhythms and new ways of life. Filmmaker Katrin Schlösser knows something about this. In her documentary When I went to visit the Boys, which had its world premiere at the Diagonale 2024, she showed us a little place in the heart of Burgenland where time seems to have (definitely?) stopped.

In making When I went to visit the Boys, therefore, the filmmaker travelled to the small district of Jennersdorf, where some people have decided to stay and many of them still dedicate themselves exclusively to cultivating the land or raising animals. They are the ‘boys’ mentioned in the title of the documentary, often lonely and introverted men, sometimes proud of their lives and who could never move elsewhere. Least of all to a big city.

Katrin Schlösser’s camera simply lets each of them confide and tell their story. Someone does not feel photogenic enough to appear in front of the camera. Someone else shows their routine listlessly. What comes out is a sometimes faded fresco of a world that seems inevitably destined to vanish forever. But while a constant melancholy acts almost as a leitmotif throughout the documentary, it is also true that in When I went to visit the Boys there is no lack of moments of levity and sometimes even hilarious situations. Just as when, for example, a young man, used to returning to his village of origin only for the weekend, recounts how his life in the city with his girlfriend is totally monotonous, or when one of the protagonists talks to the camera about his own masculinity.

And it is precisely the concept of masculinity that is often mentioned in When I went to visit the Boys. The attentive and witty gaze of a woman – Katrin Schlösser – observes, amused but also extremely respectful, her protagonists, who, in turn, seem to constantly feel the need to affirm their being men within a small reality in which (apparently) very few women live.

Evident, at the same time, are the deep inner wounds that each of the characters interviewed carries within him. Many of them, because of the war, have been forced to grow up without parents, while there are even those who no longer have any contact with their own children. Yet, despite this, life in the small district of Jennersdorf still seems to run smoothly. As if such precious and precarious serenity was destined to last forever. And perhaps, to be truly happy, nothing else is really needed. With a simple and essential directorial approach, When I went to visit the Boys shows us all this, thus offering us a brief and intense journey into a little, timeless world.

Original title: Besuch im Bubenland
Directed by: Katrin Schlösser
Country/year: Austria / 2024
Running time: 92’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Katrin Schlösser
Cinematography: Katrin Schlösser
Produced by: KGP Filmproduktion

Info: the page of When I went to visit the Boys on the website of the Diagonale; the page of When I went to visit the Boys on the website of the sixpackfilm; the page of When I went to visit the Boys on the website of the KGP Filmproduktion