In 1906, Josefine Mutzenbacher wrote the erotic novel “Josefine Mutzenbacher: oder Die Geschichte einer Wienerischen Dirne von ihr selbst erzählt”, which caused quite a stir at the time. Director Ruth Beckermann decided, more than a hundred years later, to see how this novel is received by people today. This is how the documentary MUTZENBACHER, awarded Best Film in the Encounters section at the Berlinale 2022 and premiered in Austria at the Viennale 2022, came to life. Cinema Austriaco had the opportunity to have a chat with her and learn more about her film. Interview by Marina Pavido.
In Suddenly, a Strike the camera of Josef Aichholzer and Ruth Beckeremann is immediately close to the workers. Filmed in 16mm and totally in black and white, the documentary includes footage shot directly by the directors during workers’ meetings or while they are intent on entering the factory, as well as single frames of the factory owners and short animation inserts by the late Manfred Deix. At the Viennale 2022 within the retrospective Österreich real.
The room is very spacious, the sofa decidedly comfortable, the topics dealt with often excessively controversial. But that is precisely the point of Mutzenbacher: to allow everyone to identify with those who are usually strongly judged, feeling vulnerable in turn and trying to understand dynamics that are anything but simple.
Homemad(e) is a precious document of a world that was and a world that is. A journey through 20th-century Viennese history, through a series of images, faces and testimonies of those who, mindful of a sometimes painful past, have decided to tell their stories about Vienna entering a new millennium.
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.