Der Meineidbauer (1926) is the first film by Louise Kolm-Fleck and Jakob Fleck made in Germany, although filming had already taken place in Austria several years earlier. A film that, in terms of many of its technical characteristics, classifies as a hybrid film, a true gem of Austrian and German cinema that perfectly straddles two nations and two different decades. At the Viennale 2019, as part of the retrospective dedicated to Louise Kolm-Fleck.
The Orlov, a brilliant film adaptation of the homonymous operetta written by Bruno Granichstaedten in collaboration with Ernst Marischka, reminds us, in terms of humour and staging, of Hollywood films of the golden years. At the Viennale 2019, within the retrospective dedicated to Louise Kolm-Fleck.
Sinuous bodies, together with intense close-ups, become the great protagonists of Die Warschauer Zitadelle (made in 1930 by Louise Kolm-Fleck and Jakob Fleck), which, in turn, stands out above all for its stylistic elegance, fluent camera movements and, last but not least, an excellent script that is both romantic and brutal at the same time and not at all predictable, ranking as one of the couple’s most mature films. At the Viennale 2019, within the retrospective dedicated to Louise Kolm-Fleck.
In The Right to Love, the Flecks deal with the controversial issue of male impotence, in a feature film that shows a decidedly more mature and self-conscious direction than the pair’s previous works. At the Viennale 2019, as part of the retrospective dedicated to Louise Kolm-Fleck.
A drama, Doctor Schäfer, that is not afraid to deal with controversial issues, expressing precise opinions and pointing the finger – as was often the case in the Fleck couple’s feature films – at a bigoted and selfish society, decidedly close-minded towards new perspectives. At the Viennale 2019, as part of the retrospective dedicated to Louise Kolm-Fleck.
In Crucified Girl, Louise Kolm-Fleck and Jakob Fleck staged the personal tragedy of a young woman in a sensitive and completely subjective way, so that they could empathise with what was being portrayed, but also maintain the right detachment and rationality in portraying such a dramatic situation that only a few people at the time could really understand. At the Viennale 2019.
After Frenchwoman Alice Guy-Blanché, the second female director in the history of the seventh art – also a very prominent figure – was an Austrian. We are talking about Louise Kolm-Fleck, who, in her time, helped Austria begin to establish its own identity in the world’s film scene.
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.
The Ancestress, by Louise Kolm-Fleck and Jakob Fleck, is a very imperfect film, but nevertheless made with such grace and such a clear gaze that it rightfully ranks as a real gem. An important heritage of Austrian and world filmography.