Austrian Cinema of the '80s
Generally speaking, the 1980s will probably not go down in history as the best time for humans. The conflict between West and East reared its ugly head again; environmental catastrophes, AIDS, and the fear of a major nuclear disaster were omnipresent; neoliberal and conservative politicians were at the controls of power. Austria, the small island of the blessed, was no exception – a decade shaken by scandals and affairs, a breeding ground for much that was yet to come.
Domestic cinema found itself in a period of upheaval. In the then newly founded Österreichischen Filmförderungsfonds (Austrian Film Promotion Fund – from 1981) the cards were reshuffled. In place of the mostly autodidactic “Austrian Auteurs” of the 1970s, to whom we dedicated our main focus in 2020, came a generation of “professional” filmmakers who had learned their craft at the academy; in addition, an art house cinema scene was establishing itself in urban areas that was generally enriching the country’s film culture. Starting with the new restoration of the cult film ANGST (Fear), which has not been shown in Austria since its premiere in 1983 and which will be shown for the first time as part of this focus, the Filmarchiv Austria illuminates in 15 programs (five of them at the Viennale) the fears of a society torn between “no future” and empty slogans of perseverance. In this, the ’80s are probably closer to us today than we would like them to be.
KEINE ANGST (No Fear) is our motto, taken from Hansi Lang’s eponymous hymn to an attitude towards life, and an invitation to the audience to join us on this journey back in time to the roots of New Austrian Cinema.
A PROGRAM BY FILMARCHIV AUSTRIA