Crème de la crème of European film at Viennale
by Bénédicte Prot
02/10/2008 - The Viennale International Film Festival – to be held in Vienna from October 17-29 – has unveiled its line-up, packed with major names.
A total of 71 recent features will be presented in the five participating theatres and many of the screenings will be attended by the directors. French film is particularly well represented and Laurent Cantet’s Palme d’Or-winner, The Class [trailer, film focus], is set to open the event.
French film enthusiasts will also be able to enjoy The Romance of Astrea and Celadon [trailer] by French master Éric Rohmer, Philippe Garrel’s Frontier of Dawn [trailer], Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale [trailer], Jacques Doillon’s Just Anybody [trailer] and Pierre Léon’s L'Idiot, adapted from Dostoevsky and starring Jeanne Balibar (who will be in attendance in Vienna).
Other European titles on the line-up include Cannes prize-winner Lorna’s Silence [trailer, film focus] by the Dardenne brothers; Catalan films Birdsong by Albert Serra and Shiver by Isidro Ortiz; and Jerichow [trailer, film focus] by talented German director Christian Petzold, who has teamed up again with actress Nina Hoss (Silver Bear Award for Yella [trailer]).
Also showing at the festival are Argentinean director Lisandro Alonso’s European co-production Liverpool, Marco Bechis’ Italian/Brazilian film Birdwatchers [trailer] and Händl Klaus’ Austrian title March, which scooped an award at Locarno.
As a domestic production, the latter will vie for the Vienna Film Prize. Meanwhile, the Der Standard Readers’ Jury Award is intended for titles that have not yet found an Austrian distributor and the FIPRESCI Award honours debut or second films.
Audiences will also have the chance to discover an impressive selection of 64 documentaries and 50 shorts, as well as a series of retrospectives (screened at the Filmmuseum) and tributes. The festival will pay homage to Werner Schroeter (14 of his films will be presented and Fassbinder’s muse, Ingrid Caven, will give a concert in his honour), Viennese distributor and exhibitor Franz Schwartz (24 superb films have been chosen, including titles by Demy, Kaurismäki, Godard and Chris Marker) and Bob Dylan.
Special programmes will be dedicated to Portuguese director Miguel Gomes (who is a guest at the festival) and early 20th-century Austrian-Hungarian actress Nora Gregor.
The Viennale will also host discussions, concerts and other parallel events. Moreover, a small selection of films will be shown at the Austrian capital’s universities.