Himmel und Erde, 1979/1982, Michael Pilz

10 Austrian Documentaries

September 22 to October 6, 2010

Ten outstanding documentary films from Austria, made between 1979 and 2006, selected and presented by ten curators from Austria and abroad – with this attenuated portrait of a rich film culture the Austrian Documentary Film Association dok.at celebrates its ten-year anniversary. Each curator was invited to choose one feature film which for them, personally or culturally, marks an extraordinary moment in the history of Austrian documentary cinema.
Although the selection was guided by subjective preferences rather than any critical orthodoxy, the filmmakers in this program represent the key figures who have contributed to the international success of the Austrian documentary: Michael Pilz, Ruth Beckermann and Peter Schreiner (the generation in Austria, which, around 1980, first expressed a modern approach to documentary); Ulrich Seidl, Egon Humer, Michael Glawogger and Nikolaus Geyrhalter (who in the 1990s explored new and controversial working methods); Gerhard Friedl, Arash T Riahi and Anja Salomonowitz (three examples of the enormous formal variety seen in the past decade). Despite this broad thematic and stylistic spectrum, the program makes clear that the Austrian documentary is essentially an auteur Cinema – in combination with numerous outstanding craftspeople and supportive producers. It is a cinema of constant self-questioning and border-crossing which often denies a rigid separation between “poetry and truth”; a cinema which is interested in alternative ways of describing and imagining the present and the recent past.
A joint presentation of the Austrian Film Museum and dok.at. Q & As with the filmmakers and curators will be offered at each screening. On September 26, the projection of Michael Pilz’ epic “Himmel und Erde”/”Heaven and Earth” (1979-82) will be accompanied by the launch of a new Film Museum DVD, dedicated to this landmark in modern Austrian film history.
Related materials