V'23 Festivalinfo

October 19 to 31

The 61st Viennale celebrates its official closing this Tuesday with the gala screening of Quentin Dupieux's film YANNICK.

Viennale Zentrale - Schild

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%.

"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."

V23_Eröffnung Gartenbau

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.

V'23 Trailer

Pedro Costa

(Portugal/Austria 2023, 2 min)

A swan song against the backdrop of a fiery apocalypse? Or is it merely the full moon in the dramatically cloudy night sky that illuminates the singer’s head as if with a gloriole? Dark it is and dark is the song she sings to us – of the melancholy evenings, of the intolerability of misery, of how quickly life is discarded; but mainly that it doesn’t have to be like this! The libretto is by Bertolt Brecht, the melody by Hanns Eisler, the voice belongs to Elizabeth Pinard, the form was conceived by Pedro Costa. And the shudder that runs through the body is ours alone.

“Pedro Costa is a tirelessly exploratory filmmaker. This short work, which is our festival trailer this year, represents both a political gesture and an aesthetic experiment – and could perhaps one day become part of one of his future works,” says Viennale director Eva Sangiorgi. “It’s an enduringly impressive film that bears witness to the continuous transformative power of cinema."

V'23 Poster Motifs

This year’s Viennale poster subject revolves entirely around the theme of LIGHT. Light makes details visible and tangible, reveals a figure and its form, but at the same time also suggests different interpretations that change the more attentively one views the image. Light penetrates and embraces organic matter, emphasizing its mutability. The source material for this poster subject originally comes from the world of science, of research – which once again shows the beauty that the encounter between technology and living forms can bring to light.

Light, form, research, technology, and life – these are also key concepts for the world of cinema. By bringing all its analytical power to the fore and making its mutability clear, this representation is symbolic of the revelatory potential that underlies the medium of film.

V'23 Awards


The Vienna Film Award, an award sponsored by the City of Vienna and presented during the Viennale, is given to a current Austrian feature film that has been screened in the past year. The endowment of this award consists of a monetary amount provided by the City's Department of Culture, monetary support from The Harmonie Vienna Hotel, and generous non-cash prizes donated by JACQUES LEMANS. In addition to the awaard for the best Austrian film, the Vienna Film Award also awards the Special Jury Award. Each of the two awards is endowed with cash donations and non-cash assets.

Jury: Thea Ehre (Actress), LYLIT (Singer and composer), Artemis Vakianis (commercial director of the Wiener Festwochen)

Best Austrian Film:
SIGNS OF WAR, Juri Rechinsky & Pierre Crom, Ukraine/Austria 2022

Jury statement:
The main award goes to a film that touches all three of us deeply in its directness and truth. Its magnificent images come alive not only on the screen, but also in our hearts. In terms of content, it captivates us with its temporal and political relevance, leaving us speechless. Due to its oppressive topicality and its poignant simplicity, we have unanimously decided that this year's main award can only go to this work.


Special Jury Award:
EUROPA, Sudabeh Mortezai, Austria/UK 2023

Jury Statement:
We award the Special Jury Award to a film that rightly confronts us Central Europeans in a painful and unsparing way with our privileges, which we otherwise want to suppress all too readily and skillfully. The acting performance of the protagonist is outstanding and definitely has to be mentioned here as well.


DER STANDARD organizes the Standard Audience Jury Award again this year. The jury members select a film from the festival entries that does not yet have a distributor in Austria. If the winning film subsequently finds a distributor, DER STANDARD supports the film's release with free advertising space in the newspaper.

Jury: Nadja Polzer, Jakob Thaller, Veronika Verzetnitsch


HOKAGE, Tsukamoto Shinya, Japan 2023

Image of movie Hokage

Jury Statement:
HOKAGE (SHADOW OF FIRE) by Tsukamoto Shinya is a film as a memorial that leaves a lasting impression - just as the consequences of wars continue to have an effect after the end of the war. The director plays with different genres, but for the depiction of horror he only has to use the reality of the post-war period. The visual language and the raw narrative style carry the oppressive atmosphere and the confinement of the protagonists. Against the backdrop of current world events, the film reminds us that the war is not over even when the battles on the fronts have long since been fought.

The Standard Readers' Jury would also like to give an honorable mention to the following film:

EL ECO, Tatiana Huezo, Mexico/Germany 2023


FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, was founded in 1930. The association is dedicated to the cultivation of journalistic ethics and represents the professional interests of its members. The members of FIPRESCI come from all over the world and meet in small juries at numerous film festivals to award the award of the International Federation of Film Critics. Usually they choose - as at the Viennale - from a number of first and second features by young filmmakers.

Jury: Nachum Mochiach, Giuseppe Di Salvatore, Barbara Gasser

The FIPRESCI-Award goes to:

SAVVUSANNA SÕSARAD (SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD), Anna Hints, Estonia/France/Iceland 2023 

Image of movie Savvusanna sõsarad

Jury Statement:
The women's sauna meetings to which we have access are much more than mere confessions: They allow stories to circulate and feelings to be shared. Through extraordinary camerawork and an intimacy rarely achieved in films, Anna Hints approaches sensitive subjects in an organic way; a way that dares to reveal trauma on the one hand, and to bring about an empowerment that is highly contagious on the other. This film, this cinematic sisterhood is capable of much - not least of breaking taboos and making us all braver.

ERSTE BANK FILM AWARD – Vermehrt Schönes!

This year, for the 13th time, the Erste Bank Film Award, initiated and sponsored by Erste Bank, will be awarded in cooperation with the Viennale, the Deutsches Haus at NYU and the Anthology Film Archives. The Erste Bank Film Award is awarded among the Austrian film productions screening in the Viennale program via an independent jury. The Film Award allows for a stay in New York City including a work presentation at Anthology Film Archives.

Jury: Silvia Bohrn (Cultural Manager), Nicolas Mahler (Cartoonist), Boris Manner (Curator and philosopher), Jed Rapfogel (Curator Anthology Film Archives) 

The jury of the Erste Bank Film Award has decided to dedicate the award to two films. The Erste Bank Film Awards goes to:


DIE ÄNGSTLICHE VERKEHRSTEILNEHMERIN is exceptional: a film that is a voyage of discovery both intellectually and formally.

Die ängstliche Verkehrsteilnehmerin

Superficially, it is the story of a young woman, Flippa. She finds her sister Furia in Sardinia, in a feminist commune of young women. These are trying to realize identities and relationships outside the boundaries of conventional social structures. DIE ÄNGSTLICHE VERKEHRSTEILNEHMERIN explodes notions of how films should be made and constructed. In an unpolished and anti-naturalistic style, Mechow combines elements of cinema, theater, and literature: Improvisation, poetic language, frank philosophical reflections, uninhibited flights of fancy, and even an in-depth analysis of Jane Austen's novels. These divergent elements gain coherence through the thematic seriousness of Losing Faith.

The film is animated by the conviction that Western society is in dire need of transformation, but it is also aware of the possibility of falling into the trap of self-referential self-righteousness - a theme that strikes at the heart of our contemporary times.

The Erste Bank Film Award goes to:

RICKERL, Adrian Goiginger, Austria/Germany 2023 

Image of movie Rickerl

In RICKERL, Adrian Goiginger depicts the everyday life of a talented and unsuccessful musician and at the same time conducts an analysis of the Viennese soul. Multitalented Voodoo Jürgens skillfully embodies the main character of this film, into which biographical elements of the singer-songwriter were also woven. The protagonist's dreary everyday life between the unemployment office and layoffs is only made bearable by visits from his son, who lives apart from him, and a whimsical round in his regular pub. In this comedy, Goiginger succeeds in developing the image of a typical Viennese character without falling into clichés. Oscillating between a death wish and creative inspirations, he stumbles over himself again and again shortly before reaching a goal.

The film touches through the authentic portrayal of the main character, takes an ethnological look at the Viennese suburban milieu and shows it as a declining culture.