In the years around World War I, the need to defend oneself from the ugliness of a dramatic present and to try to keep every slightest hope for the future was felt more strongly than ever. The seventh art did not remain indifferent and in these years took a totally new direction, becoming the voice of every human being, his weaknesses, his fears, his desperate desire for happiness.
The Breitenseer Lichtspiele is the oldest cinema in Vienna still in operation and one of the oldest cinemas in the world, still showing films for viewers of all ages. Founded in 1905 – ten years after the invention of cinema by the Lumière brothers – this small cinema has often risked closure, but still continues its activity today.
After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the election of Charles I of Austria to the throne was a completely unexpected event for the Austrian people. What was to be done, then, to make the people begin to trust him and start considering him as a kind of reference point at such a difficult time? Here, then, cinema came into play.
Reality, the everyday and human bodies take on completely new and unexpected forms in the works of Viennese Actionism. New forms, new colours, disturbing images, animal entrails and organic substances express a new way of rebelling and conceiving art, mocking the consumerist and conservative society and that dangerous latent fascism that, despite the end of the war, still seems to be alive and pulsating.
The exhibition ‘Special Effects – Die Interaktive Ausstellung für Filmfans’ (‘Special Effects – The Interactive Exhibition for Film Fans’) – in Vienna from the 18th of October 2019 to the 5th of July 2020 – does not only aim to make people see and experience various film techniques up close, but above all to make visitors of all ages critical and active spectators.