An anguished sense of death and claustrophobia pervades Radetzkymarsch, directed by Michael Kehlmann in 1964 and an adaptation of Joseph Roth’s homonymous novel. The Habsburg monarchy, for its part, seems to us like a kind of golden cage. A cage inside which Carl Joseph and his father Franz, the film’s protagonists, are prisoners.
Today, Austrian avant-garde cinema is extremely prolific and full of interesting ideas. Yet few people know that it was officially born after the end of World War II and, specifically, in 1951, the year in which artist, painter and photographer Kurt Steinwendner made his Der Rabe, a highly experimental film transposition of the famous poem The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.
It is not surprising that a feature film like 1. April 2000 (a fine fantapolitical satire directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner) was made precisely in 1952, seven years after the end of the world war and only three years before the Austrian State Treaty by which, among other things, the nation’s neutrality was officially proclaimed.