How many films have you seen today? Is there one you’d recommend? What will you watch next? That’s clearly festival talk. Currently it’s going on in Vienna, where the 50th issue of the film festival Viennale just started.
The Viennale was the first film festival I ever visited and also the one I still like most. That’s probably due to a variety of factors. I studied film in Vienna, so of course the festival was the highlight of the year. Not only because of the great films, but also because it really seems to change Vienna. Living there it is impossible not to notice the festival is taking place. There’s plenty of people everywhere, new venues springing up all over the city and simply something on every single night…
As most festivals always sceen brand new films, getting a hold of the program was always very exciting. I would study it for days and in the end pick films based on actors, directors, awards from previous festivals or also screenshots and synopsis. It ended up feeling like I bought tickets to completely random films, but somehow I enjoyed almost all of them. That’s why I’m particularly sad to miss the Viennale this year, because every year I’d leave the festival with a new favorite film!
As I’ll have to try finding my favorit film of the year somewhere else, I want to go back and see what my favorite Viennale-films were. Most of them I’ve already written about, but I think favorite films are allowed to be featured at least twice!
Drive (D: Nicolas Winding Refn, US 2011)
Ryan Gosling is Driver. The nameless Protagonist works in a garage and as a stuntmen during the days, and becomes a getaway driver at nights. He seems introvert and calm, but starts opening up a a little when he meets and falls in love with his neighbour, Irene (Carey Mulligan). When Irenes husband returns the films starts picking up it´s pace, just to slow down again in all the right moments. Things go wrong, Driver is in trouble, we suddenly see what he’s capable of, as he fights for his life and Irenes safety.
Refn tells this story in an action manner, but treats it´s protagonists with much more empathy and respect than these films usually do. It pays attention to detail, evokes emotions atypical for this genre and tops the cake with great music.
So far I don’t think I’ve met anyone who didn’t love this film.
Flight of the Red Balloon (D: Hsiao-hsien Hou, F 2007)
My friend couldn´t understand my tears after this slow drama at first. A hectic mom (Juliette Binoche) and patient Au pair take care of little Simon and his red balloon. My interpretation of the childs fascinating view of the world, which adults often lack, made my friend a fan of this film after all. And whenever we see a plastic bag floating through the air or an especially beautiful beam of sunlight, we both think of this film and stop for a moment.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (D: Cristian Munglu, RO 2007)
Due to the two main awards at the Film Festival in Cannes, the Viennale had no problem filling every last seat in the massive Gartenbaukino. When the film began it got super quiet and even throughout the final credits nobody moved. The audience was literally stuck to their seats and we needed way more than one drink before we could speak about something else but how far friendship should go.