Archive for the ‘Austria’ Category

Die Fälscher has been on my dvd shelf and in my travel dvd holder for years (some 50 other movies share the same fate), but for some reason it took me until today to finally watch it. It was worth the wait ! What an excellent movie.

Much has to do with the character of Sally Sorowitsch, a most intriguing Jewish counterfeiter who’s arrested by the Nazis and later placed as head of their own money forging business. His will to survive is enormous and if that includes collaborating with the nazis, than so be it. Soon after he’s been placed in a concentration camp he makes it known what his talents are in order to get a (slightly) better treatment than the others. And it works.

Both Karl Markovics (the actor) and Stefan Ruzowitzky (the director) are to be complimented for depicting a believable anti-hero. In fact, the whole cast and production team should be given kudos. The story is interesting, the characters aren’t one-dimensional, the script is well written, a lot of the background information is told with clever images, both explicit and suggestive…

Yeah, nothing to complain about at all. Apart from the soundtrack maybe and the Monte Carlo scenes in the beginning and at the end, which don’t add anything interesting to the story.

Great watch ! A must.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0813547/

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Paradies: Hoffnung – **

Posted: December 13, 2013 in 2013, Austria, Dramedy, XX

I absolutely LOVE the way Ulrich Seidl uses the camera! It’s so refreshing to see someone shoot scenes with a camera that stands STILL. It’s all incredibly beautifully framed as well. Very photographic.

I also really LIKE the way Ulrich Seidl just shows scenes as they take place in front of you. It’s very voyeuristic and at times unsettling, but it makes you feel like you are part of the story. It’s hyperrealism. It’s people-watching from your living room (or cinema theatre).

It doesn’t bore. But it doesn’t really excite either.

Part one (in which a single mother goes to Kenya to find herself some exotic boy toy) was funnier. Part two (in which an extremely devote catholic gets confused when her muslim husband returns home) was more depressing. This third part just doesn’t really confront you with anything special. It’s more of the same ‘laughing with sadness’. A fat girl falls in love with an older, fit doctor who rejects her (even though he does feel attracted to her in some way). Sure the pedo-erotic moments are a bit confronting. They feel normal and innocent, even though you expect them to feel wrong. But all the other scenes are just about a girl discovering booze, sexual desires and missing a father figure. Or a parent in general, as she’s trying to get a hold of her mother (who is too busy falling in love with a Kenyan lover boy – see part one).

This trilogy is definitely a must to watch, because it’s like nothing much you’ve seen before. But its originality doesn’t make it a masterpiece.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2371834

 

Paradies : Glaube – *

Posted: November 25, 2013 in 2012, Austria, Drama, Social Drama, X

The middle part of Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy focusses on Anna Maria, the pious sister of Teresa (who goes to Kenya in the first movie to find herself some exotic love). It’s a different type of woman. She got married to a muslim once, but after he got paralyzed and went away to Egypt for a while, she converted to a very strict Opus Dei-like Catholicism. She gathers with other believers to pray for Austria to become catholic again. She goes from door to door with a statue of the virgin Mary to convert sinners. And she has a perverted sexual and sadomasochistic obsession with Jesus. When her husband returns, she gets all confused and her faith becomes even more extreme.

If this sounds TOO MUCH, don’t bother watching. The voyeuristic and humorous aspect of the first movie are gone. So what’s left is a depiction of a very sad lady who lives a very sad life. Even the shocking scenes (an orgy by mentally disabled people in the city park and a masturbation scene with a catholic cross) are sad. That said, it’s well acted again. Both by Maria Hofstätter (an experienced actress) and Nabil Saleh (a random muslim who’s never acted before). And the photography is again awesome.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2371824

Great: the photography (awesome) and the acting of Margarete Tiesel (daring)

Good: the movie’s theme (sex tourism in Kenya) and the way it was presented (very realistic)

Interesting: the fact that none of the characters are good looking or remotely personable.

Weird: the feeling of being a voyeur and the feeling that you’re laughing at a seriously sad subject

Bad: the depiction of Africans (racist) and the African actors (amateur)

 

All in all a weird experience with a lot uncomfortable moments. Very much in your face and very confronting.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1403214/

Das Weisse Band – ***

Posted: January 11, 2011 in Austria, Drama, Germany, XXX

Seen on dvd