DIAGONALE: Diagonale in school pajamas

(c) "Fuchs im Bau" Arman T. Riahi / Golden Girls

Images of freedom in the mind: Arman T. Riahi’s award-winning film “Fuchs im Bau” about a drawing teacher in a youth prison opens the Festival of Austrian Film in Graz. In real life!

“The Color of the Chameleon” by Jörg Klaubetz tells the story of Paul, who indiscriminately picks the pockets of unknown people. The new film by Sebastian Brauneis and ensemble “1 Verabredung im Herbst” (1 Appointment in Autumn) operates in its tried and tested manner with guerrilla collaborations and striking capers, telling the story of people who love and fall out of love.

In her feature film debut “Hochwald” Evi Romen tells of a young man’s painful search for meaning. It soon becomes clear that the only way to a self-determined future is to break out. “Life on the Horn” by Mo Harawe almost wordlessly tells the story of a father-son relationship on the coast of Somalia in incisive black-and-white tableaux.

In the film competition, the heart of the festival, the Diagonale’21 shows 108 current Austrian feature, documentary, short, animation and experimental films and awards Austria’s highest endowed film prizes, first and foremost the Grand Diagonale Prizes of the Province of Styria for the best feature film and the best cinema documentary of the festival.

This year’s Personale is dedicated to filmmaker Jessica Hausner, her films will be shown such as Amour Fou, Flora, Hotel and Little Joe.

Documentary film is writ large at the Diagonale: “Aufzeichnungen aus der Unterwelt” by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel revolves around two old friends from the criminal Viennese milieu of the 1960s. Transhumanism and its pioneers: “Endlich Unendlich” by Stephan Bergmann traces the phenomenon between delusion and meaning. Arthur Summereder’s “Motorcity” documents the drag racing scene in Detroit, where elaborately souped-up vehicles reach tremendous speeds in a very short time; a race lasts only a few seconds. In “Vakuum,” Kristina Schranz recounts the first chapters of the pandemic in her homeland, southern Burgenland. What happens next is the question that determines everything. “Once upon a Time in Venezuela” depicts in impressive images the story of a small village on the edge of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. It shows how corrosive the forces of populism can be.

„After breakfast, I put on my pajamas and go to school.” 

This sentence by an elementary school student is taken from the documentary film “Vakuum” by Kristina Schranz, which will be shown at this year’s DIAGONALE. Kristina Schranz’s film “Vakuum” deals with everyday life in the lockdown in the filmmaker’s home in southern Burgenland; with isolation, abandonment and a world at a standstill. But also with whimsical, loving ideas such as a choreographed hand-washing tutorial for elementary school students before the reopening of the elementary school. 

Some people think of Corona as an alien invasion: “Jesus, aliens! I think”, the short film by Sophie Bösker, which will premiere at DIAGONALE, portrays the everyday life of the Bösker family, who ended up together again under one family roof during the first lockdown, not entirely by choice. Sophie Bösker does not reveal what is script and what is real in the film. The film paints a picture of a lockdown-ridden everyday life, in which the Corona crisis makes visible what is otherwise so easily overlooked. Neurotic episodes, compulsive lawn mowing and parents who expect an alien invasion. 

Amusing observations of serious everyday life are the focus of the short film “Actually – a Summer Film” by Sasha Pirker: from the art of swimming against waves to voids in language and Austrian drinking habits. Interwoven with silent image montages of an only seemingly carefree family celebration from Thomas Vinterberg’s first Dogma 95 film “Festen”. A mischievous film miniature as an invitation to swim against the current and reflect. 

Anyone who knows the ORF comedy series “Sendung ohne Namen” has also become acquainted with Sebastian Brauneis’ crazy chains of associations. He has created 40 episodes of the show for ORF. His feature film “Verabredung im Herbst”, which will premiere at this year’s DIAGONALE, adds another feature-length film to Brauneis’ universe after the fiction thriller “Zauberer” and “3freunde2feinde”. 

“There are all kinds of love, but it almost never ends well,” a gardener declares at the beginning of Sebastian Brauneis’ new film. 

Let’s hope that at least this year’s DIAGONALE “ends well”, because those who know it, love it. 

Selection from the movie program:

Fuchs im Bau, Arman T. Riahi, AT 2020, ‘103
08.06. + 12.06.2021

Die Farbe des Chamäleons, Jörg Klaubetz, AT 2020, ‘96 
10.06. + 13.06.2021

1 Verabredung im Herbst, Sebastian Brauneis, AT 2021, ‘105
10.06. + 11.06.2021

Hochwald, Evi Romen, AT/BE 2020, ‘108
11.06. + 13.06.2021

Life on the Horn, Mo Harawe, AT/DE/SO 2020, ‘25
10.06. + 13.06.2021

Selection from the documentary program:

Aufzeichnungen aus der Unterwelt, Tizza Covi / Rainer Frimmel, AT 2020, ‘115
09.06. + 12.06.2021

Endlich Unendlich, Stephan Bergmann, AT/DE 2021, ‘92
09.06. + 12.06.2021

Motorcity, Arthur Summereder, AT 2021, ‘86
09.06. + 11.06.2021

Vakuum, Kristina Schranz, AT/DE 2021, ‘82
09.06. + 13.06.2021

Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, VE/GB/AT/BR 2020, ‘99
09.06. + 13.06.2021

The whole program can be found online.

Festival des österreichischen Films Graz
08. – 13.06.2021