This is not America – Austrian Drifters

Kiss Daddy Good Night, 1987, Peter Ily Huemer
December 7, 2017 to January 3, 2018

Exploratory movements between film and pop, 1976 to 2014

Vienna, 1976: the Arena was taken over by young people demanding an autonomous cultural center. Lectures, exhibitions and concerts took place and the events were filmed by, among others, Videogruppe Arena and Fritz Köberl. The interlacing of filmmaking, pop culture and political activism reached (in Austrian terms) a decisive impulse that the program "This Is Not America – Austrian Drifters" follows to the present day. The figure of the drifter is constitutive for the great majority of characters and formal approaches found in the films as well as their compilation. It is not a question of gaining a comprehensive, meticulous understanding of the relationship between pop and film. Instead, a drifting gaze glancing here and there is at the heart of the program, seeking out the highlights of forty years of film as part of the Austrian pop culture. Anything else would be impossible, since film has always been a part of pop culture (too).

Feature films such as John Cook’s Langsamer Sommer, Niki List's Malaria or Peter Ily Huemer's Kiss Daddy Good Night enter a dialogue with documentary works like Egon Humer's The Bands and Wolfgang Strobl's Eiszeit and avant-garde works by Karin Fisslthaler, Dietmar Brehm, Billy Roisz and many more. If we go along with this rolling movement, the fascination of pop culture and film with the codes and signs of "cool" and the "right" bearing becomes apparent. At the same time, what all these films have in common is a yearning for an absent America. But this is not America. So, in cinema, we encounter a number of places where pop was lived and envisaged with particular dedication; U4, Arena, and Flex in Vienna or Stadtwerkstatt in Linz. All along, we find ourselves in a central location of pop culture in Austria: the cinema.

The retrospective took shape as part of the series "1000 Beat Film" at the Diagonale 2017. It has been brought to Vienna in cooperation with the Wien Museum, where the exhibition "Vienna Calling. A History of Pop Music" is open until March 25, 2018.

Numerous guests, including filmmakers and participants in the Austrian pop and subculture life in the last three decades, will be present at the Film Museum for Q&As and discussions from December 7 to 14, 2017. Dietmar Brehm, Karin Fisslthaler, Reinhard Jud, Wolfgang Kos and Walter Gröbchen will be among them.
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