Film week to present best of Austrian cinema

Three of the films are Israeli-Austrian co-productions, including Amichai Greenberg’s The 'Testament,' which was just screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in California.

'Baumschilgar' is an Austrian-Israeli co-production. (photo credit: DOR FILM)
'Baumschilgar' is an Austrian-Israeli co-production.
(photo credit: DOR FILM)
Austrian filmmakers are flourishing on the international cinema scene, and the best of recent Austrian films will be celebrated at the third Austrian Film Week, which takes place at cinematheques in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Herzliya, Rosh Pina and Tel Aviv starting on February 10.
The movies shown during the film week will have English and Hebrew subtitles. There will be seven films, five of which will be Israeli premieres. The movies draw their inspiration from the Austrian cinematic heritage, which dates back to well before World War II and also includes the diversity that marks contemporary Austria.
Three of the films are Israeli-Austrian co-productions, including Amichai Greenberg’s The Testament, which was just screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in California. The Testament tells the story of a driven Israeli historian who is frantically trying to find the exact location of an Austrian burial ground from a massacre that took place late during World War II, before developers destroy the site to build a shopping center. As he delves further into his research, he learns a family secret that changes his life. The film won Best Israeli Feature at the Haifa International Film Festival.
The film week will open with Adrian Goiginger’s The Best of All Worlds, a critically acclaimed off-beat drama about a young boy whose mother is a drug addict, but raises him with love and care. He dreams of becoming an adventurer, but she realizes that the two of them will be torn apart by the system if she does not get clean.
Monja Art’s Seventeen tells the story of a teenage girl in a small Austrian town who falls in love with her best friend and isn’t sure how to handle her feelings. This feature, the director’s first, won the Max Ophuls Prize in Austria.
Nina Kusturica’s Ciao Cherie is about an Internet cafe and international call center in Vienna. Told in quasi-documentary style, with actors and non-professionals, it looks at the nature of communications in Austria and the modern world, and tells the stories of all those who come to the shop to connect with others.
Dieter Berne’s Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden is a drama about the controversial painter and the scandals and triumphs that marked his life. It also details his relationships with the two women, his sister and his model, who inspired him. Schiele remains a divisive figure in the art world to this day, but no one disputes his genius or importance.
Harald Sicheritz’s Baumschlager is another Austrian-Israeli co-production, a satire about the UN peacekeeping forces in the Middle East, led by a dimwitted Austrian who enjoys his work and isn’t happy when it looks as if a peace accord might be signed, because he doesn’t want to go home. Written by Ma’ayan Oz, it features a number of Israeli actors, including Kobi Farag, Moran Rosenblatt and Meyrav Feldman.
Back to the Fatherland is a documentary by Gil Levanon and Katharina Rohrer about young Israelis who have decided to move to Austria and Germany, the countries from which their grandparents fled.
Johannes Strasser, director of the Austrian Cultural Forum Tel Aviv, which runs Austrian Film Week, said in a statement that the films “tackle the difficult question of how to deal with the future without forgetting the past. I would like to thank the cinematheques, the filmmakers and of course the many people interested in our screenings for their commitment to Austrian culture and Austrian movies in particular. Without them, this film week would not have been possible. In addition, I would like to thank my team for the tireless work in preparing and supporting this project. I very much hope that you will enjoy the movies.”
Check with the websites of the individual cinematheques to get the schedules and to order tickets.