Austrian Cinema

Free Radicals, 2003

Ostensibly titled after highly reactive (and consequently, short-lived) molecules that contain unpaired electrons in their outer shells, Barbara Albert’s Free Radicals presents a series of fractured (and often sexually gratuitous) tales of coincidence and synchronicity. The film unfolds in an organic structure that reflects the conventional proverb on the consequential, unforeseen, long-reaching effects of the… read more »

Nordrand, 1999

The advent of the Balkan Wars following the collapse of the Soviet Union (and leading to the breakup of Yugoslavia) – and in particular, the engagement of NATO peacekeeping forces in Kosovo – forms the destabilized, uncertain backdrop for Barbara Albert’s politically loaded Nordrand, a zeitgeist film on the changing face of Austrian society at… read more »

Workingman’s Death, 2005

Michael Glawogger pulsing, ambitiously conceived global treatise on the drudgery, and often dehumanizing, rituals of manual labor at the beginning of 21st century – over a century after the birth of the Industrial Revolution – appropriately begins in the town of Donbass in the Ukraine, the coal mining town where, in 1935, Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov… read more »

Our Daily Bread, 2006

Evoking the aesthetics of Harun Farocki’s antiseptic images of production crossed with Chantal Akerman’s structuralist ruminations on organic landscape, Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Our Daily Bread is a bracing, surreal, sobering, and strangely transfixing exposition into the dehumanized technologies and industrially engendered process efficiencies intrinsic in the mass commerce of industrial-scale food production. Composed of a series… read more »

Elsewhere, 2001

In 2000, the final year of the twentieth century, Nikolaus Geyrhalter and his crew set out with a digital video camera to film twelve, self-contained ethnographic episodes, each encapsulating a month-long document of the lives of people who perform their quotidian rituals in a figurative “elsewhere” – distant cultures and remote geographies seemingly left untouched… read more »

Washed Ashore, 1994

An elderly cemetery caretaker, Josef Fuchs, impassively looks out into the Danube River before turning to face the camera and reciting Count Albrecht Graf Wickenburg’s requiem for the namenlos – the unidentified dead, often people who committed suicide or lost their lives in boating accidents, whose bodies have washed up along the riverbank over the… read more »

Benny’s Video, 1992

A lumbering, full-grown pig, muzzled through a leash that has been tied around its snout, is led outside the barnyard doors of an unidentified farm and into a clearing where a group of apparent bystanders cavalierly await its slaughter. The skittish, herky-jerky video image taken from the handheld camera moves in relatively tight side view… read more »

The Seventh Continent, 1989

A faceless and unassuming family waits in oppressive silence, passively watching the rhythmic, mechanized motion of detergent sprays, high pressure washers, and rotating brushes as their vehicle travels through the monotonous cleaning cycles of a car wash before driving away, past the idyllic coastal image of a billboard advertisement for Australian tourism. The drudgery and… read more »

Program 9: Peter Kubelka’s Truth and Poetry

During Peter Kubelka’s engaging, humorous, and inspiring presentation (and screening of his latest film), he reinforced several concepts and overarching theories that have fueled his personal philosophy and his craft. The first is humankind’s primordial nature as hunter and gatherer, and that as a filmmaker, Kubelka adapts to this primitive instinct though his penchant for… read more »

Kurt Kren Retrospective

I have been wrestling this week with my ambivalent reaction towards the recent Kurt Kren and Viennese Actionist Film near-complete retrospective at the Anthology Film Archives which I found to be both enervating and exhilarating in equal measures. In retrospect, this inability to reconcile with the artist’s body of work seems to stem from Kren’s… read more »