Opening Films 2021

28.04.2021 // This year’s opening rally is headed up by Maria Schrader’s Berlinale festival entry ICH BIN DEIN MENSCH / I’M YOUR MAN, Tribute guest Ivan Ostrochovský will present his current work SLUŽOBNÍCI / SERVANTS as its Austrian premiere, and the documentary THE WIRE is exemplary for how Europe “actively” is closing its borders.  The world premiere SURVIVING GUSEN honors three survivors of the Nazi extermination camp in Gusen near Linz, and the Night Sight opener will be MANDIBULES / MANDIBLES, the newest work by chief absurdist Quentin Dupieux. Traditionally CROSSING EUROPE opens with more than one film every year – and will once again do so this year – that are representative for the variety of the contemporary European film landscape, and at the same time act as a cross section of the program of the year.
ICH BIN DEIN MENSCH / I’M YOUR MAN (DE 2021) – Austrian Premiere
Directed by: Maria Schrader
Program section: European Panorama Fiction; length: 104 min | feature film
Distributor in Austria: Filmladen; Cinema release in Austria: tba
Guest: Maria Schrader (invited)
The multi-talented Maria Schrader – award winning actress and successful director – takes on the eponymous story by Emma Braslavsky and tries her hand on a contemporary take of the robolove motif. - In order to get her hands on funding for her studies, the scientist Alma (Maren Eggert was awarded the Silver Bear for her portrayal) agrees to take part in an extraordinary experiment. For three weeks she lives with the anthropomorphic robot Tom, who turns into her perfect partner thanks to his artificial intelligence.
SLUŽOBNÍCI / SERVANTS (SK, RO, CZ, IE 2020) – Austrian Premiere
Directed by: Ivan Ostrochovský
Program section: Tribute; length: 80 min | feature film
Guest: Ivan Ostrochovský, Katarina Tomkova (producer)
With his highly acclaimed feature film SERVANTS, that celebrated its world premiere at the Berlinale 2020 in the competition section Encounters, Ostrochovský now seems to have entirely arrived in the realm of fiction, after having made a name for himself as a director and producer of documentary and semi-fictional works over the past few years. Kept in a strict black-and-white, he tells the story of two young men in a priest seminary who find themselves in between political fronts in the early 1980s in Czechoslovakia. What decision do they take – do they conform to the totalitarian system, or join the resistance against the communist regime?
THE WIRE (BE/HR/NO/SI/LT 2021) - Austrian Premiere
Directed by: Tiha K. Gudac
Program section: European Panorama Documentary; length: 77 min | Documentary
Guest: tba

The Kupa is the border river in between Croatia and Slovenia. In order to close down the so-called Balkan route and “protect” the Schengen area, fences were set up as border protection over the past few years, something that has massively influenced this idyllic river area and its inhabitants. Tourism as well as peaceful coexistence are being threatened as old wounds (20 000 partisans were murdered here) are opening up again.
SURVIVING GUSEN (AT 2021) – World Premiere
Directed by: Gerald Harringer, Johannes Pröll
Program section: Local Artists; length: 68 min | documentary
Distributor in Austria: Bright Films; Cinema release in Austria: June 2021
Guests: Gerald Harringer, Johannes Pröll
Since its very beginning the program section Local Artists has had a long tradition of showing works that deal with (Upper) Austrian contemporary history. 76 years after the end of the Nazi terror regime, the essayist documentary film SURVIVING GUSEN honors three survivors of the extermination camp in Gusen, a space that has since been turned into a residential area. 71 000 people were deported to this camp during the national socialist terror, and over half of them died there due to the conditions faced there, along with mistreatment and torture. The supposed idyllic area shown in landscape footage stands in stark contrast to the memories of the three men and the book passages soberly read by Maria Hofstätter and Peter Simonischek, the police protocols and reports by experts.
MANDIBULES / MANDIBLES (FR/BE 2020) – Austrian Premiere
Directed by: Quentin Dupieux
Program section: Night Sight; length: 78 min | feature film
Distributor in Austria: Filmladen; Cinema release in Austria: tba
In this year’s Night Sight opener by the chief absurdist Quentin Dupieux (copyright Nightsight curator Markus Keuschnigg) two simple friends come into the possession of a giant fly the size of a terrier that promises to bring them great riches. Why not train the fly in order to rob a couple of banks?