Going to Cinematik is also an opportunity to discover new Austrian cinema and unique documentaries from around the world

4. September 2023

The international film festival Cinematik in Piešt’any will open the gates of its 18th year on 12 September. Visitors will also be able to discover contemporary Austrian cinema, which the festival will focus on in two sections: in the Magnified section and in the retrospective Respect, dedicated to the director and screenwriter Jessica Hausner. In the DokMa section, Cinematik brings remarkable documentaries from all over the world.

Miss Novak (Mia Wasikowska) is an expert on food trends. She comes to lecture about them at a prestigious boarding school, where she forms a dangerously strong bond with several students. Before the school authorities and parents realise what is happening, the situation spirals out of control.

With her latest film Club Zero (2023), a provocative story about the destructive power of authority, the fragility of adolescence and the perversity of lifestyle cults, Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year. In its Slovak premiere, the audience will be able to see it at Cinematik, side by side with five other feature films by the director.

In the section Respect: Jessica Hausner, the audience will also see the sci-fi Little Joe (2019)about a scientist who has grown a plant with therapeutic benefits, but also a dark side. This film also premiered at Cannes, where actress Emily Beecham won a prestigious award for her portrayal of the lead character. Lourdes (2009), on the other hand, is a drama about a disabled woman’s journey to a famous spiritual place where miracles are said to happen on the spur of the moment. The film excelled in both the Venice IFF programme (FIPRESCI Award) and the European Film Awards (Best Actress Award for Sylvie Testud).

Jessica Hausner’s profile section also includes the psychological drama Lovely Rita (2001) about a teenager defying her strict upbringing (FIPRESCI Award and Grand Prix at the Viennale) and the historical drama Amour fou (2014) about a poet looking for a soulmate to commit suicide with (Best Screenplay and Best Editing at the Austrian Film Awards and Cannes). The show will be rounded out by the mystery Hotel (2004), also premiering at Cannes, about the mysterious disappearance of a receptionist at a remote Alpine resort.

The Magnified Cinematik section will also present other personalities of modern Austrian cinema. Peter Brunner, a disciple of the famous Michael Haneke, will contribute to the programme with the horror drama Luzifer (2021), which mixes religious fanaticism with mental disorders and the laws of nature (the film was screened at both the Sitges and Locarno festivals). In the drama Lillian (2019), the feature debut of documentary filmmaker Andreas Horvath, we again follow an expatriate who, after her visa expires, makes her way from New York back to Russia on foot (FIPRESCI Prize from the Tromsø IFF and screening at Cannes).

The Best of All Worlds (Die beste aller Welten, 2017) is an autobiographical drama by Adrian Goiginger set in the Salzburg drug scene. The film premiered at the Berlinale IFF and also scored points at the Austrian Film Awards (Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Actress). Eismayer (2022)David Wagner’s Eismayer (2022)invites David Wagner to join the army for a change, where a feared officer unexpectedly falls in love with one of the new recruits. The film won the Austrian Film Awards for both lead and supporting actors, as well as Best Screenplay. The title was also included in the programme of the Venice IFF.

In the drama Moneyboys (2021) by Chinese-Austrian director C.B. Yi (screened at Cannes and Hong Kong), we meet a prostitute who supports his family through his profession, even though they condemn him, while in the comedy Side Effects & Risks (Risiken & Nebenwirkungen, 2021), we reflect on what true love actually looks like with director Michael Kreihsl and his heroine, a woman who is a kidney transplant recipient.

In Sisi & Ich (2023), premiered at this year’s Berlinale, Frauke Finsterwalder returns to Austria’s most beloved historical figure – Empress Sisi. This time we meet her through the eyes of her companion Irma (Sandra Hüller) in the setting of an aristocratic commune in Greece. In Sandra Wollner’s provocative sci-fi When I’m Born (The Trouble with Being Born, 2020), awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Berlinale, we get a glimpse into the bizarre relationship between a man and a robotic girl.

In the programme section DokMa, Cinematik presents a showcase of important and award-winning documentary films from abroad. They offer compelling glimpses into the topics that move the world today, but also behind the scenes of seemingly ordinary lives and events.

In Blix Not Bombs (2023), for example, Swedish-Czech documentary filmmaker Greta Stocklassa interviews the former head of the UN Security Council’s weapons inspectors, Hans Blix, in order to find an answer to the question of why we cannot live in peace.

In Knit’s Island (2023), awarded two prizes at the Visions du Réel festival, the French trio of Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse and Quentin L’helgoualc’h invite us to a virtual space where a community of avatars simulates a struggle for survival. But is it really just a game?

A Night of Knowing Nothing (2021) by French-Indian filmmaker Payal Kapadia (screened at Cannes and Toronto) takes us into the atmosphere of escalating demonstrations and social change through a correspondence between an Indian student and her estranged lover.

Polish documentary filmmaker Jakub Piątek takes us behind the scenes of a prestigious piano competition in Pianoforte (2023), which has already screened at Sundance and Visions du Réel this year. In Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels (2023), Serbian documentary filmmaker Mila Turajlić uncovers a surprising journey of forgotten footage from the African and Asian liberation movements of the 1960s into Belgrade’s film archives.