October 19 to 31
The 61st Viennale celebrates its official closing this Tuesday with the gala screening of Quentin Dupieux's film YANNICK.
This year's festival can be called a particularly successful one. An exceptionally good presale already indicated what, to our great delight, was to come true in the course of the 13 festival days: many sold-out screenings not only of so-called "bigger" films, numerous excellently attended screenings of the smaller special programs not only ensured an enthusiastic atmosphere in the cinema halls, but were also expressed in very gratifying attendance figures.
75,300 people attended Viennale film screenings this year, which corresponds to an occupancy rate of 76%.
Another almost 14,000 visitors found their way to the Viennale Zentrale, to dance to the music of DJs such as Lars Eidinger or Rosa Pistola, to listen to the exciting speeches and talks of filmmakers like Lisandro Alonso, Catherine Breillat, Jennifer Reeder, Claire Simon, Martha Mechow or Radu Jude and to have a drink at the Viennale Campari Lounge and listen to selected filmmakers and interesting personalities playing their favorite music.
"We started the festival with a clear awareness of the dramatic events that are shaking and threatening the world around us," Viennale director Eva Sangiorgi reflects on the past two weeks. "We asked ourselves how to deal with this catastrophe from our privileged perspective. For 13 days, the cinema halls were full - at screenings, encounters, talks and discussions. Those who attended the Viennale activities witnessed exceptionally high and enthusiastic audience participation. This is our place of peace and reflection, which I called for on the opening day - a small, thoroughly responsible contribution in this day and age."
The 61st Viennale again had a lot of highlights to offer. Among them was the opening gala in the presence of the producer and the leading actress of the highly political opening film MAGYARÁZAT MINDENRE (EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING), Júlia Berkes and Lilla Kizlinger.
Although the great French actress Catherine Deneuve had to cancel her visit to Vienna at short notice due to illness, the Gartenbaukino was completely sold out on the occasion of the screening of the Raúl Ruiz film LE TEMPS RETROUVE, in which she played the leading role - one of the signs that the joint Viennale and Austrian Film Museum retrospective on RAÚL RUIZ was very well received.
Also in the Gartenbaukino, a very special gala took place on the penultimate evening of the festival: On the occasion of the 100th birthday of the long-time and extremely popular Viennale President Eric Pleskow, his daughter Michelle Abt presented Viennale Director Eva Sangiorgi with that Oscar as a gift to the festival, which Eric Pleskow won for the film AMADEUS in 1985, to great applause from the audience.
As expected, the big hits of the festival year were enthusiastically received and ensured sold-out halls and many discussions, including POOR THINGS by Yorgos Lanthimos, ANATOMIE D’UNE CHUTE by Justine Triet, PRISCILLA by Sofia Coppola or Michael Manns FERRARI, just to name a few.
It is nice to see that even the programs perceived as "smaller" were very well received by the Viennese audience: both Historiographies (JAMES BALDWIN - THE WRITER ON CAMERA as well as DAVID SCHICKELE - BETWEEN THE USA AND NIGERIA) far exceeded expectations and had high occupancy rates. The same goes for KEINE ANGST, the program by Filmarchiv Austria, which took on the Austrian cinema of the 80s and brought back to the screen a true domestic classic in a newly restored version with the film ANGST by Gerald Kargl, which had not been shown in the cinema since 1983.
The Viennale has always held shorts in high esteem. All the more gratifying is the fact that the popularity of short films has never been as great as at this year's Viennale - another reason to maintain and expand the presentation of this format in the future.
It is already a tradition that Austrian film is prominently represented in the festival's main program. This was also the case this year. Major premieres of films such as Nikolaus Geyrhalters STILLSTAND, Jessica Hausners CLUB ZERO, Sudabeh Mortezais EUROPA, Adrian Goigingers RICKERL, but also ADENTRO MÍO ESTOY BAILANDO by Leandro Koch and Paloma Schachmann or DIE ÄNGSTLICHE VERKEHRSTEILNEHMERIN by Martha Mechow attracted increased attention.
In addition, the Viennale was again able to welcome many great guests who presented their films this year, including Christian Petzold, Bertrand Bonello, Catherine Breillat, Jennifer Reeder, Lisandro Alonso, Angela Schanelec, Radu Jude, Lav Diaz, Pedro Costa, Claire Simon and many more.
At the end of the festival, the Viennale itself is pleased not only about enthusiastic reactions in domestic and foreign media, but also about the sensational direct feedback and appreciation that was and is communicated to us by our press and industry guests from home and abroad.