Diagonale ’23 / Graz, Styria

70er-Jahre Wohnbau-Utopie Alterlaa als Zeitkapsel für zukünftige Wohnbauvisionen:  „27 Storeys“ Dokumentarfilm von Bianca Gleissinger © Mischief Films / Klemens Koscher
70er-Jahre Wohnbau-Utopie Alterlaa als Zeitkapsel für zukünftige Wohnbauvisionen: „27 Storeys“ Dokumentarfilm von Bianca Griesinger © Mischief Films / Klemens Koscher

21.3. – 26.3.2023

Sebastian Höglinger and Peter Schernhuber present their last programme in their function as directors of the DIAGONALE this year. And in doing so, they span the spectrum from the gaping wounds of our time to great cinema.

You should stop when it’s at its best: When Sebastian Höglinger and Peter Schernhuber took over as directors of the DIAGONALE Film Festival in 2016, they ploughed up the ground with great success and created enough space for young Austrian film talents in their programme. Many of the young filmmakers whose careers have received an early and therefore all the more important boost at the DIAGONALE in recent years have since been able to successfully establish themselves.  

One such opportunity this year is offered to the director young Jakob Fischer, whose short film Workshop for Democracy and Human Rights traces with abundant laconic humour how democracy education is taught in our schools today.  And how the teaching staff themselves can stumble in the process: A Punch and Judy show on the subject of human rights violations, a delicate privilege quiz and gaping knowledge gaps on all sides provide plenty of fuel for heated discussions about divergent values. 

Katharina Mückstein’s documentary Feminism WTF raises the question of what feminism will have achieved in a hundred years: An angry and resistant review of the prevailing still patriachal-dominated conditions. 

With Matter out of Place, Nikolaus Geyerhalter paints – as he did in his last film Earth – another documentary film tableau about the overexploitation of our planet: The documentary journey from the bottom of the sea to the mountains of Nepal and to an incrination plant in the Nevada desert makes it clear: nowhere is there enough space for the rubbish we produce day after day. A sober observation in which only the material is allowed to speak. 

The documentary film Lass mich fliegen by Evelyne Faye accompanies four young people who have been diagnosed with trisomy 21. They want to shape their lives according to their wishes, demand their right to work, marriage, children and a political participation, and encounter hurdles and resistance everywhere they go. A powerful portrait about people who struggle for being seen and heard and about their unconditional will to lead a self-determined life.  

The science fiction drama Rubikon by Leni Lauritsch sketches a dystopia for the year 2056 in which a corporate soldier, a scientist and a biologist have to watch from the space research station Rubikon how an environmental catastrophy destroys the earth. Let´s hope, that the festival programme at the DIAGONALE 2056 can then focus on more pleasant topics …

The festival of Austrian film in Graz opens with Patric Chiha’s feature film “The Animal in the Jungle”. It is a pulsating ode to metropolitan club culture, a plea for the liberating power of losing yourself in the intoxication of dance, life and love. This year, alongside the feature film, is Viktoria Schmid’s experimental miniature “NYC RGB”, the world premiere of which marks the start of the gala evening – a view of New York shifted by historical color film processes as proof of the potential of cinema to explode reality.

The focus of the festival is the film competition, which shows outstanding feature films and documentaries as well as the best short, animated and experimental films and videos from around 500 current submissions – many of the productions from this program celebrate their world premiere or their Austrian premiere in Graz . The festival also presents numerous highlights of the past cinema year.

The Diagonale is again offering two special programmes: The historical specials FINALE and Aktion! Action! offer the rare opportunity to see works from the local film archives, some of which have been specially digitized and restored, far away from the capital.

The program series Personal is dedicated to the filmmaker and screenwriter Goran Rebić. His short, documentary and feature films tell of labor migration to Vienna, of independence and the civil war in Georgia, of the disintegration of Yugoslavia or of the Danube as a European lifeline.

Festival of Austrian Film Graz
21.3. – 26.3.2023