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Highlights from the Viennale

NEW FEATURE FILMS AND DOCUMENTARIES AT THE VIENNALE

As in previous years, the main program of the festival consists of about 130 feature films and reveals a kind of state

of production: a representation of current world cinema and its various developments and tendencies. It can, in a

way, be considered a survey of "the Continent of Cinema" in which cinematic regions, boundaries, and topo -

graphies begin to emerge. And within that continent individual islands and countries are formed by the tributes,

special programs, and, not least, the great retrospective.

The current choice of productions in the summer of 2010, just before the large autumn film festivals in Venice, San

Sebastian, and Toronto, features a number of well-known names and exciting works. These include new works by

Jean-Luc Godard, Marco Bellocchio, Mike Leigh, Todd Solondz, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Woody Allen,

Manoel de Oliveira, Olivier Assayas, and Frederick Wiseman.

In addition to these well-known directors, familiar to Viennale-goers, however, it has always been new names,

surprising signatures, and independent cinematic innovations that have created the richness of the Viennale

program. The unknown regions of "the Continent of Cinema" that will be revealed in 2010 have names such as

Paz Fábrega, Aaron Katz, Li Hongqi, Gonzalo Castro, Rusudan Pirveli, Pietro Marcello, Renate Costa, and Jeff

Malmberg.

If we were asked to select a few special items from the provisional program and describe some of the early focal

points without becoming too general, the series of extraordinary and fascinating cinematic portraits would be worth

mentioning. This is a cinematic form in its own right. A specific quality of cinema, it makes it possible to create a

picture and portrait, an idea and first impression of a human being. The forthcoming Viennale program features a

great variety of fascinating works with and about personalities. These include the tragic portrayal of the great

American record producer and song-writer Phil Spector, a portrait of director Martin Scorsese as observed during

his work by Jonas Mekas, and a reflection of the staged personality of the politically dubious and ruthless figure of

Nicolae Ceausescu. Further examples include Andy Warhol's mystified superstar Candy Darling, the legendary

pioneer and role-model of all paparazzi photographers Ron Galella, and not least Nénette, the elderly female orangutan

of the Paris Zoo.

 

Another striking feature of the film selection is the great wealth and exceptional variety of interesting, original, and

distinctive short films. This year's program is characterized in a special manner by small works from different

genres, including documentary, essay, avant-garde and experimental films. These include a number of Austrian

examples, such as the new works by Martin Arnold, Peter Tscherkassky, Sasha Pirker, Johannes Lurf, Siegfried A.

Fruhauf, and Dietmar Brehm, as well as some wonderful cinematic miniatures by Thom Andersen, Luc Moullet,

Redmond Entwistle, Sandro Aguilar, Vincent Moon, and Jean-Marie Straub. Seldom before has the cinematic genre

of the short film been represented in such a rich and comprehensive manner as it will be at this year's Viennale.

Finally, we should point out an aspect of the program that promises to awaken eager anticipation of the Viennale

and exciting nights at Vienna's Gartenbau Cinema: a number of comedies, some with tragicomic stories, that are

told in a way that is becoming increasingly rare today. They would lend a lovely and exciting aspect to any festival.

The comical, inscrutable and absurd, cool jokes and hellish laughter, political incorrectness, sexual confusion, and

anarchic insecurity can be found in the strangest blends and unexpected combinations in this year's program. To

name but a few films: Shinboru, Leaves of Grass, Han Jia, High School, Cyrus, and Life During Wartime.

This is a preview of some of the highlights of the highly varied and, hopefully, exciting, unusual, and original

program of the forthcoming festival. We are looking forward to presenting to you the large and extensive map of

"the Continent of Cinema" at the Viennale 2010.

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