Disenchanted, rational and appropriately satirical – with even a touch of subtle irony – Lourdes, by pointing the finger at a hypocritical and “respectable” society that lives only on illusions, shows us a very different reality from the one we imagine.
Hotel sees its greatest strength in a direction made up of static and symmetrical frame compositions, with colours turning mainly to green or red. A power of images achieved thanks to the contribution of the cinematographer Martin Gschlacht, a long-time collaborator of Hausner and co-founder of the production company Coop99.
The final scene of the short film Flora – with the protagonist running towards an unknown destination – shows even more parallels with Lovely Rita. Here, however, everything is taken to the extreme, everything is starker, more real. And the hope for a better future, evident at the end of the previous short film, now seems to be only a vague memory.
With the Zur Person series, the Diagonale’20 turns its focus on the director Jessica Hausner and her widely acclaimed film oeuvre. Beginning from her most recent film Little Joe, which was the only Austrian entry represented in the competition at the Cannes film festival, the Diagonale’20 will show a comprehensive retrospective of Hausner’s oeuvre including the rediscovery of her early works as a film student.
Little Joe, the sixth feature film by director Jessica Hausner, already in competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2019 (where the protagonist Emily Beecham won the Best Actress Award), is a deliberately ambiguous work, which does not aim to give precise answers to the questions raised and which makes this ambiguity its greatest strength. At the Viennale 2019.
With Flora, Jessica Hausner – similarly to what her colleague Barbara Albert did a couple of years later with Sunspots – began her journey into the world of the seventh art with an interesting coming-of-age, in which some basic features of what was to become her particular directorial approach could already be recognised.
It is a very interesting evolutionary path, that of director Jessica Hausner, one of the most popular Austrian film directors today. After a career beginning in which the world of adolescence and self-discovery was the focus of her interest, following a brief incursion into horror cinema, her discourse gradually shifted to social issues and to all the”weirdness” that characterises the society in which we live. This is the case with Lourdes, as well as Amour Fou, the first costume drama by the Viennese director.
Looking back over the history of cinema, one cannot fail to notice the large number of Austrian women directors – contemporary and past – who have contributed (and still contribute) to an ever richer and more varied filmography that is indeed little known, but also incredibly diversified and full of surprises.