The railway line along which the so-called Mariazeller Bahn travelled is the oldest mountain railway line in Austria. This railway line was, around the 1910s, completely electrified, also thanks to the numerous hydroelectric power stations along its route. The documentary Eine Fahrt mit der Mariazeller Bahn gives us the opportunity to get to know this reality up close.
Eine Fahrt mit der Bernina-Bahn seems to us a quite exceptional film, which in a little less than four minutes gives us a fairly comprehensive idea of a small reality in the Alps. A precious historical and artistic document, one of the oldest railway films from the origins of (Austrian and world) cinema.
An extraordinary calm and a welcome serenity pervade Vorfrühling am Attersee, conceived, like many other tourist documentaries made in the early 20th century, to appeal to as many tourists as possible in Austria and to give abroad an image of the nation where prosperity was commonplace.
Die Tat des Andreas Harmer is an extremely sophisticated noir, where – just as the great Fritz Lang had shown us in Metropolis in 1926 – the clear separation between good and evil is well represented on two levels by the settings, be they the basement of a building and the sewers of the city or a sunny park on a hot summer’s day.
Café Elektric is part of the so-called Sittenfilme – moral films – in which were told the stories of women who, after leading a dissolute life, finally understood the importance of true values. Made in 1927, the film is unfortunately incomplete today, as the last part has been permanently lost.
Already in the early years following the birth of cinema, there were numerous travel documentaries that showed the beauty not only of Austria, but also of the lands of its empire. And so, in 1913, Menaggio am Comer See (‘Menaggio on Lake Como’), produced by Sascha-Film, also saw the light of day.
The short documentary Meran, made in 1912 and produced by the legendary Sascha-Film, is today considered one of the oldest and most precious documentaries in Austrian film history.
We are in 1914. World War I was imminent, just like the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Important changes were in the air. And yet, the extraordinary peace in Lugano am Luganosee has almost the power to transport us to a timeless place, or, better still, to a place where time itself seems to have stood still.
Although less well-known to the audience Mrs. Dane’s Confession, directed by Michael Curtiz (still credited as Mihály Kertész), immediately stands out for its extraordinary directorial care, intense close-ups and sophisticated editing cuts, complete with irises and fades that give the entire feature film a very personal character.
While watching Bozen mit dem Luftkurort Gries – one of the oldest travel documentaries produced in Austria – we can enjoy wonderful views of the city of Bozen, continuing on to the small town of Gries, passing through the picturesque mountains of the area.