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VIENNALE 2023

The 61st Viennale revs its engines

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- The Viennese film gathering is bursting with this year’s festival hits and winners, plus old and new crowd-pleasers as well as a focus on Chilean cinema

The 61st Viennale revs its engines
Explanation for Everything by Gábor Reisz

The 61st Viennale, scheduled to unspool from 19-31 October, has announced a rather ambitious line-up of discoveries, major festival hits from the past season and general crowd-pleasers. “It's a festival for the city,” artistic director Eva Sangiorgi remarked on the local impact of the gathering. “A festival is a ritual and also attracts people who can’t find the time to go to the cinema during the year.”

Drawing in the masses while also reflecting on the challenges and hardships of our times is already the mission of the opening movie, Explanation for Everything [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Gábor Reisz
film profile
]
by Gábor Reisz. It starts with a failed school exam and, throughout the story, extends its gaze to a reflection on Hungary under Viktor Orban. It is the third feature for Reisz, who made quite a splash with it in this year's Orizzonti competition at Venice.

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One of the big-name productions with an Austrian flair that have made it into the feature-film programme is Ingeborg Bachmann – Journey into the Desert [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Margarethe von Trotta
film profile
]
by Margarethe von Trotta. The biopic on the titular Austrian writer, portrayed by Vicky Krieps, debuted in the competition of the Berlinale. The Austrian focus (also encompassing Austrian financing-backed output) continues with Jessica Hausner’s Club Zero [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jessica Hausner
film profile
]
, Sudabeh Mortezai’s Europa [+see also:
film review
interview: Sudabeh Mortezai
film profile
]
, Sofia Exarchou’s Animal [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sofia Exarchou
film profile
]
, Adrian Goiginger’s Rickerl, The Klezmer Project [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Leandro Koch, Paloma Schach…
film profile
]
by Leandro Koch and Paloma Schachmann, Martha Mechow’s Die ängstliche Verkehrsteilnehmerin, and Timm Kröger’s The Universal Theory [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Timm Kröger
film profile
]
.

On an international level, all of the main winners from the big three – Berlin, Cannes and Venice – are present: Nicolas Philibert's On the Adamant [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nicolas Philibert
film profile
]
, Justine Triet's Anatomy of a Fall [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Justine Triet
film profile
]
and Yorgos Lanthimos's Poor Things [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Suzy Bemba
Q&A: Yorgos Lanthimos
film profile
]
. Further international highlights are Sofia Coppola's Priscilla [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, and Wim Wenders with both Perfect Days [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Anselm [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. Other recent festival favourites include Philippe Garrel’s The Plough [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Agnieszka Holland’s Green Border [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
.

The retrospective this year is dedicated to Raúl Ruiz, whose extensive body of work is still relatively little known. Born in Chile in 1941, he went into exile in France after the 1973 coup. Up until his death in 2011, he was considered a rather elitist figure on the fringes of the European and Latin American film industries. The retrospective is a prominent piece in this year’s broader focus on Chilean cinema. Indeed, 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of General Pinochet's coup. The related “Kinematografie” section will showcase films by renowned Chilean personalities and lesser-known works by well-known filmmakers.

The second “Kinematografie” is dedicated to Austrian cinema of the 1980s, while there will be a “Historiografie” devoted to US author James Baldwin, and another to Peace Corps member and director David Schickele. Nicolas Klotz and Elisabeth Perceval constitute the focus of the first “Monografie”, with the second one hinging on Narcisa Hirsch. The industry section will include talks from Alba Rohrwacher and Radu Jude, while French actress Catherine Deneuve will drop by as the special guest on 26 October.

For the traditional closing gala on 31 October, the festival has picked something lighter and more entertaining. The closing film will thus be Quentin Dupieux's surreal comedy Yannick [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, in which the title character gives free rein to his displeasure during a theatre performance.

After not being used for the past few editions, the Kunsthalle will also make a comeback as the Viennale’s headquarters, and will be offering discussions, special events and musical festivities – amongst them Lars Eidinger serving as a DJ once again on 21 October.

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