by Xaver Schwarzenberger grade: 6.5 Xaver Schwarzenberger and his wife Ulrike – author of the screenplay – deliberately leave certain questions open and make a subtle ambiguity an essential element… Read more »
It’s immediately clear that O Palmenbaum is not an ambitious feature film. Its main purpose is to stage the bizarre adventures of the Treichl/Moor families, which the audience loved so much in Single Bells. And this, considered from this point of view, works, especially if one thinks that, compared to numerous other sequels, the structure of the previous feature film is never taken up, in order to create a sort of “carbon copy” of it.
Herbert Holba’s cinema, as well as that of many of his colleagues and friends, marks with The First Day the beginning of a new Austrian film movement, in which an attempt was made to break away from national film canons by trying new ways of staging, new ways of understanding the seventh art, new ways of experimenting. And this, then, is also the case with The First Day, set in a no-man’s-land between yesterday and tomorrow and drawing heavily from yesterday to tell of an unusual, possible tomorrow.
Dinner for two – made for television by Xaver Schwarzenberger, the long-time cinematographer of the great Rainer Werner Fassbinder – aims above all to be a fresco of Viennese society – and, more generally, of the world in which we live – without taking itself too seriously. A long journey through Vienna where anything can happen.
Although it presents quite a few problems, Single Bells – directed by Xaver Schwarzenberger in 1997 and co-produced by Austria and Germany – skilfully avoids all the rhetoric and cheap feel-goodism into which situations of this kind can easily fall. And it also does so without being afraid to “play dirty “.
With a sophisticated black and white that recalls the cinematography of Katzelmacher (Fassbinder’s first film, 1969), The Pacific Ocean – the first feature by Xaver Schwarzenberger, Fassbinder’s long-time assistant – is a work that, in its own way, has become a milestone in Austrian and German cinema of the 1980s.