Seeing Voices leads into the hidden universe of the community of deaf people and focuses on the expressive power and magic of sign language. Through different protagonists in Vienna, Seeing Voices portrays life in a deaf world in different stages of life: The Hager family with their son Emil (1) and their daughter Caroline (3, hearing), Ayse (18), who is on the verge of a career choice and Helene (42), a politician; they all master their daily lives in different ways, walking the line between the hearing and the deaf world.
HOUSE OF ATONEMENT
House of Atonement tells the story of a luckless address: Vienna, Schottenring 7. This was the site of Ringtheater were nearly four hundred people died in a fire in 1881. Where the emperor subsequently built the Sühnhaus (‘the house of atonement’) to make up for it and no-one wanted to live there. Where Sigmund Freud opened a practice when he was still unknown. And moved out again after a patient lunged to her death in the staircase. The Gestapo put the place to the torch in order to destroy files, successfully annihilating the emperor’s allegedly ‘incombustible’ legacy. Here, Cold War fear was cast in concrete: Vienna’s control centre for cases of breakdown, 18 meters under the earth and untouched to this day. The essayfilm House of Atonement takes an associative look at monarchy, First and Second Republic and connects images, events and thoughts that do not seem to have much in common, at first glance. As a ghost house movie without ghosts it uses a piece of property’s history as an occasion to look for real skeletons in Austria’s cupboard.
documentary, 75min, D: Martin Putz
The wind itself is inaudible. All we hear is the sound that results from the wind encountering an obstacle. The wind itself is invisible; all we see is its effects. What we perceive are intimations, the wind itself is always a phantom. Its essence is created in our fantasy, it is fantastic. In the film we see the wind’s images and hear the sounds it makes. In our minds we comprehend that there is a cause. We bridge the gap between seeing and hearing. To my mind the poetry of the element lies here. For the camera the wind is a welcome subject: because it is always on the move, there is always something in motion. To my mind that is the element’s magic. My story of the wind will be told through people who encounter the wind and work with it in various ways. The film contrasts them and what they intend to do with the wind with the nature of the element itself. In this context the wind should be understood as an image of human inability to control nature and as a metaphor for a meeting with the unpredictable, the intangible.
DREAMS REWIRED traces the desires and anxieties of today’s hyper-connected world back more than a hundred years, when telephone, film and television were new. As revolutionary then as contemporary social media is today, early electric media sparked a fervent utopianism in the public imagination – promising total communication, the annihilation of distance, an end to war. But then, too, there were fears over the erosion of privacy, security, morality. Using rare (and often unseen) archival material from nearly 200 films to articulate the present, DREAMS REWIRED reveals a history of hopes to share, and betrayals to avoid.
BERG is a journey with a floating mountain. During the 2015 edition of the Festival der Regionen in Upper Austria, a group of artists made an imposing wooden model of a mountain that was then transported across a lake taking a journey for 10 days. This floating vehicle became a platform for cultural exchange, welcoming musicians, writers and visual artists to collaborate. The film BERG using this experience to create a hypnotic and evocative visual poem.
(Best International Feature Film, Architecture Film Festival Lissabon 2015)
Among the Chinese double happiness refers to the happiness that’s increased twofold when a couple decides to spend the rest of their lives together. Ella Raidel chose this beautiful and optimistic concept as the title of her first full-length documentary. But, calling it a documentary possibly isn’t fitting, and it’s certainly not like the conventional kind of report on globalization. On the contrary, this is an extremely pointed film essay made with a great deal of sensitivity and a fine touch.
Starting with the widely known but rather banal fact that “the Chinese” near the Special Economic Zone of Shenzhen have more or less rebuilt to scale the Upper-Austrian tourist attraction of Hallstatt, or at least parts of it, Raidel takes an extremely precise look at contemporary China which shows she’s completely unimpressed by the opposites characterizing the West’s current view of the country.
THE 272 DAYS WITHOUT KARAMO
documentary, 82min, D: Anka Salomonowitz
“Anja Salomonowitz´s artistically constructed documentary The 272 Days Without Karamo tackles a difficult and at times moving issue – the tough immigration law in Austria – with compassion and engagingly quirky edge. It is elegantly shot, artistically framed and gently emotional, with Salomonowitz making especially good use of Bernhard Fleischmann´s impressive score and playfully layering in some clever sound design quirks that make what could have been an unrelentingly dry subject all the more human and insightful.” Mark Adams, chief film critic, Screen Daily.
TOWARD NOWA HUTA
documentary, 84min, D: Dariusz Kowalski
(Grosser Preis Diagonale 2012) vimeo
Young people spin their cars around in the closed-down industrial grounds.
A newlywed pair has their picture taken in dilapidated barracks.
A tourist guide drives visitors through the city in his Trabant, pointing out the sites of clashes from 1989.
Three scenes from Dariusz Kowalski’s documentary Toward Nowa Huta, which offer splendid illustration of its organization: present and past mutually penetrate and comment on one another rather than forming two separate planes. The film does not have to search for a direct confrontation with the past; the theme presents itself automatically, as it were, like an onsite prop that one would have to pass by, anyway, sooner or later.