Austrian Film Days : Cultural exchange and deeper mutual understanding

‘Contribution to ever-tightening relations between Austria and Jordan’ — ambassador

Austrian Film Days
(Photos: Handouts from the Royal Film Commission)
The first iteration of the Austrian Film Days kicked off on Monday, organized by the Royal Film Commission in cooperation with the Austrian embassy. The screenings are part of an effort to promote cultural exchange and communication between Jordan and Austria through cinematography.اضافة اعلان

The event is scheduled to run from Monday, June 27 to Wednesday, June 29, at the Royal Film Commission’s outdoor amphitheater.

Austrian Ambassador to Jordan Osker Wusttinger told Jordan News at the event’s opening that he hoped it would become a yearly tradition.

“We see this event as a natural contribution to the ever-tightening relations between Austria and Jordan,” he said. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Austrian embassy in Amman, and “next year we will be celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations between our countries.”

Films are a powerful tool to foster cultural understanding between countries and communities; it connect people, he said, adding that “if Jordanians watch a film set in Austria it gives a better understanding” and narrows the distance between people.

It also help to provide a better understanding to people from different backgrounds, connect: “films: “we open up new, unknown perspectives on the world”, he added.

Austria has cooperated with the Royal Film Commission in the past at international film festivals held in Jordan such as the European Film Festival or the UN Women Film Festival, both organized in collaboration with the film commission.

The selection process was the “biggest challenge”, the ambassador said, there were many entries to choose from. Therefore the embassy submitted a list of films for the commission to choose from.

The initial list the embassy submitted tried to offer a variety of recent and older films, Wusttinger said. “For us it was important to share both a feature-length drama as well as a documentary.”

The selected films
The films chosen for screened during the Austrian Film Days are a varied selection of narrative, documentary, and comedy films both long and short.

In the documentary, “Kinders”, by the Iranian-born, Vienna-based directors Arash and Arman T Riahi, a group of children and teenagers from different backgrounds face difficulties, and through a musical program founded by Caritas, Wiener Konzerthaus, and the Vienna Boys Choir, they transform.

Through music, they experience social engagement, training, and discussions, which awaken their creativity and help them overcome struggles in their life. The film follows a few of the children of the course of years and how shows the audience how they changed and grew.

Kinders of course as sad moments, but others are filled with laughter, hope, and power.

The four short films presented during the Austrian Film Days were the result of a collaborative effort by the Austrian foreign ministry and the Austrian Film Academy; all the short films had been in the running for the 2021 Austrian Film Award for best short film.

“Der Wächter” by Albin Wildner
In his mid-fifties, unemployed building technician Raphael moves back in with his bedridden mother, who is cared for several times a week by the Ukrainian nurse Vera. The threat of losing his unemployment benefits forces him to accept a job as a night watchman. After a tragic incident, he not only finds himself torn from his newly acquired routine, but also abandoned by his employer and the state.

The film is a touching, yet haunting, look at that part of society whose secure livelihood is in danger of disappearing.

“Die Waschmaschine” by Dominik Hartl
The first short film in Austrian filmmaker Dominik Hartl ‘s master’s program, “The Washing Machine” is a realistic story about the need to stand on one’s own two feet, which also addresses irrational fears.

Simon (Thomas Schubert) and Lea’s (Brigitta Kanyaro) broken washing machine is annoying them, so they turn to the internet to rid themselves of it. Hassan (Aziz Çapkurt) answers her ad, which does not mention that the washing machine is broken, only that it has to be picked up in person. When Hassan complains the next day, Simon gets scared.

The 25-minute short film tells a true-to-life story with humor and lightness about couple dynamics and human weaknesses such as false pride and irrational fears.

“Fische” by Raphaela Schmid
A photograph in pastel colors and an introduction to the film’s characters and their almost naive gestures immediately give “Fische” (Fish in German) a light, delicate, almost carefree tone, as if one were suspended in time. This presentation is the perfect counterpoint to the first dialogue between the two young protagonists.

The audience finds themselves catapulted into a fairytale, although the location itself is a Chinese restaurant. Inside a huge aquarium, numerous goldfish swim. Voices upon voices overlap in the background. Two estranged brothers (Julia Franz Richter and Roman Binder) meet following the death of their mother. While one of her cared for her during her final days, the other walked away from her, preferring to run away from his responsibilities.

Fische, therefore, is the story of two brothers who have lost sight of each other and are trying to reconnect.

Raphaela Schmid, in this small and precious work of hers, has made communication in general and, specifically, the overlapping of various communication levels the leitmotif of the whole discourse.

Within minute, Fische manages to touch on important topics as light as a feather and as pleasant as a sip of fresh water.

Das Urteil im Fall K. by Özgür Anil
After a court decision, a family consisting of the single father Mustafa (Nazmi Kirik) and his two children Emine (Zelal Kapcik) and Ekrem (Cem Deniz Tato) tries to find its way back to normality. However, the mild sentence and the traumas experienced will not let go of the family and both siblings try to find their way to cope.

Özgür Anil’s “The Verdict in the Case of K.” demonstrates how a family deals with a court verdict it does not see as justice. The film explores trauma as experienced by a victim and their family.

With calm camera work, Anil captures the impact of such events in a subdued way that allows the pain of those affected speak for itself.

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