51st Viennale - Vienna International Film Festival
Austria, October 24 - November 6 2013
This is not a festival designed for the industry, but for the audience. And Viennese truly love the Viennale. During this year’s 51st edition, almost 100,000 tickets were sold. Screenings held in beautiful halls and historic theatres were filled to the brim, and between the film events participants exchanged their opinions in the cafés in the foyer. All the venues were located around the historic centre of Vienna, with the extraordinary architecture of the old Empire becoming the spiritual silent hero of the event.
The remarkable programme of this largest, two-week long Austrian festival allowed one to discover what is most interesting in contemporary cinema. There were works by established directors — the Coen Brothers, Barry Levinson, Woody Allen, Bruno Dumont and Tsai Ming-liang, to name just a few. A large part of the festival was devoted to full length documentary films, and a separate section was devoted to ethnographic cinema. There was also a new look at the history of cinema, including a retrospective of Jerry Lewis. The festival paid tribute to Spanish film director Gonzalo Garcíi Pelayo, and the star of this edition was Will Ferrel, to whom a separate gala was devoted.
There were, however, interesting discoveries, prepared with a taste selection of films by new authors. Twenty first and second films competed for the FIPRESCI prize. The 13 features and 7 documentaries were of a high and equal level. Among them could be found social cinema, set within the reality of the economic crisis, trying to speak of distant worlds. But there were also universal reflections on love, friendship and growing up. The four-person jury, chaired by Eithne O’Neill, awarded the Franco-Austrian Grand Central by Rebecca Zlotowski.
In Vienna, there is no classic competition. In addition to the FIPRESCI prize, the Der Standard Readers’ Jury Award was given to The Strange Little Cat by Ramon Zürcher. Vienna Film Award (for Austrian films) went to feature film Paradise: Love by Ulrich Seidl and Sickfuckpeople, a documentary by Juri Rechinsky. This same documentary, along with Shirley: Visions of Reality by Gustav Deutsch, was awarded the Mehrwert-Filmpreis der Erste Bank. (Krzysztof Kwiatkowski)
Viennale – Vienna International Film Festival: www.viennale.at