Viennale 2018

Aquarela (08.11.2018)
A stunning documentary that might perform well at the box-office and should be definitely seen on a big screen with appropriate sound system. It was shot in 96 frames per second, “because the rain could be seen as separate drops of water, so it was clear that this was the right speed for water” (Victor Kossakovsky). Siberia, Greenland, the Atlantic Ocean or Venezuela are some of the locations the director picked to show the beauty and the power of water in any shape and conceivable color. There is no voice-over and no plot.
In AQUARELA human presence is mostly relegated to insignificance, but nonetheless the audience experiences a wide range of emotions from ecstasy to fear. Water is, of course, a source of life, but the movie depicts more often its force of destruction. At the beginning, while showing how a car is pulled out of the frozen waters of Lake Baikal, the camera catches another car in the distance cracking through the ice. A certain sense of danger keeps lingering throughout the film despite all the gorgeous imagery. (Ferdinand Keller)

Blaze (07.11.2018)
Ethan Hawke’s BLAZE is a lyrical, meandering portrait of a life that was short and raucous. Recounting the story of hard-living, larger-than-life country musician Blaze Foley – a.k.a. Michael Fuller, a.k.a. Deputy Dawg – BLAZE is a film full of memories and memories-within-memories. Through a vivid lead performance by newcomer Ben Dickey, the film tracks the legendary singer’s path through back roads and honky-tonks with plenty of Blaze’s own characteristic blend of dirty jokes, tall tales, and country-and-western folklore along the way. And then there’s the songs: uncannily performed by Dickey as well as Texas musician Charlie Sexton – who inhabits the ghostly persona of another doomed country great: Townes Van Zandt – the film’s soundtrack spin its own yarns of regret and heartbreak. Central to these Blaze’s bittersweet romance with Sybil Rosen (Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat), who follows him from a small shack in the idyllic Texas wilds to seek fame along the slow road to Austin. Co-written by Hawke and Rosen herself, BLAZE is a tender and melancholy rumination on that classic dilemma of country music: the choice between home and the road. (Leo Goldsmith)

Leave no trace (07.11.2018)
Will, a psychologically fragile Iraq War veteran, lives in the woods of Oregon with his teenage daughter Tom. They are neither homeless nor criminal; like others nearby, they have chosen to live apart from society. But when government rangers force Tom and Will out, they must try to adapt to civilisation and community. LEAVE NO TRACE is the third fiction feature by Debra Granik and, like DOWN TO THE BONE and WINTER’S BONE, it takes an observational, realist approach to an intriguing, marginal aspect of contemporary American life. Its characters are not militant right-wing survivalists shooting guns; they are ordinary, damaged people helping each other to cope. The social workers who intervene by relocating Will and Tom are benevolent; but to live in society means for Will to “eat their food, do their work” – to conform, crushing his freedom. Superbly acted by Foster and McKenzie, and rigorously eschewing any sensationalist possibilities (there is no sex or violence here), LEAVE NO TRACE eventually zeroes in on a universal human drama: the bond between father and daughter, which must ultimately arrive to the painful crossroad of separation, Tom wanting to think and act independently. (Adrian Martin)

Beautiful Things by Giorgio Ferrero (06.11.2018)
Eine hybride Filmfuge, die den exzessiven Hyperkonsum auf diesem überhitzten Planeten über vier Individuen umkreist, die an verschiedenen Stellen der globalen Verwertungsketten auf paradoxe Weise insuläre, ja mönchische Pole inmitten des rasenden Stillstandes markieren. Die Stimmen des Ölarbeiters, des Schiffsingenieurs, des philosophierenden Industrieakustikers im echofreien Studio und des Verbrennungstechnikers mit einer Vergangenheit im Glücksspielgewerbe verbinden sich zum Libretto einer zeitgenössischen Doku-Oper. Am Ende dann ein ratlos-virtuoser Paartanz in der Shopping Mall. In genau diesem Gebäude, räumt Regisseur und Komponist Ferrero ein, erledige er seine eigenen Einkäufe. (Stephan Settele)