Vienna remains Vienna!

Vienna! City of my student years. I spent nearly six years there, studied, suffered, enjoyed and loved. Last weekend I went back to meet friends and their newborns, drink Viennese Melange and wander through the beautiful streets. I had four amazing days, with sunshine and spring-like temperatures that showed Vienna at its best. Also at its best is the Danube city in the many films it stars in, because really it is always more than just the location…

The Piano Teacher (D: Michael Haneke, D/F/AT/P 2001)

Elfriede Jelineks book with the same title was the basis of Austrian Star director Hanekes film, which won an astonishing three prices in Cannes 2001. Isabelle Huppert is the neurotic pianist teacher Erika, whose personality unfolds more in every scene. Haneke captures the psychological drama in his typical calm and almost freed of emotions style. The Karlsplatz, the concert hall and the pompous buildings of the city make Erika seem even smaller, more fragile and powerless, while their proud strength and coldness seems to also have influenced her.

Hundstage (D: Ulrich Seidl, AT 2001)

Another festival success in the year 2001: Seidl won the grand prize of the Venice Film Festival with this, his first, feature film.  Hundstage connects six episodes from the Viennese suburbs and although there’s plenty protagonists, there just doesn’t seem t be any happiness. Everyone seems to be unhappy, lonely and unable to change ones situation, while the relationships with each other are mostly full of violence and disrespect. The episodes are sad and take a peak at the world beyond the seemingly idyllic suburban walls. Hundstage is an currish and honest film, that manages to stage his protagonists in an empathetic way although they are difficult anti-heroes.

The Third Man (D: Carol Reed, GB 1949)

The ultimate classic among the Vienna films. There is even a weekly showing in Vienna’s Burgkino of Carol Reeds criminal thriller.

Post war Vienna is the dark backdrop to black market dealers and agents. A place for the homeless and lonely where Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) tries to uncover the truth about his deceased friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). In typical post war Film Noir style the film takes you on a thrilling journey with various twists and turns that capture the audience until today. The Prater, bis Ferris wheel and the main cemetery are only a few of the sights appearing in this film.

Before Sunrise (D: Richard Linklater, USA/AT/CH 1995)

One night in Vienna is all Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) have. After their chance encounter on a train from Budapest they have the night in Vienna until they both travel onwards in the next morning. The wander through the streets, speak about life and love, their own hopes and experiences. Different places in Vienna seem to spark certain topics and drive the conversation.

The film is minimalistic, it´s a lot of talk and less action and most likely one of the reasons why Vienna is still a prime destination for a romantic trip…

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