June 6, 2017

The fourth day of VIS brought us five films in the National Competition programme titled “Future/Music”. The first two films, O! Fortuna I-VI by Karin Berger and Morsen – Federspiel by Simon Spitzer and Jessyca R. Hauser were of the experimental film genre, while the other three were more or less standard fiction films. Each of the three fiction films focused on one particular aspect of interpersonal relations.

In New Year by Felix Kalaivanan we follow two long-lost childhood friends who finally meet after four years of separation. The film is set in the snowy Austrian province of Vorarlberg, just before New Year. These particular time and place are very significant for the story. New Year is a time usually associated with reflecting on the previous year and making plans and big decisions for the future. The peripheral setting is significant because one of the friends went out into the world to become an artist, while the other one stayed behind, without much ambition. But the former failed, and with his aspirations crushed, he sits in his car with a bottle of alcohol, reminisces about his past and furiously tries to combat his friend’s serene attitude towards the world.

Waiting Time by Clara Stern is a precise and potent film manifestation of fear. In the night, a young girl waits alone at a bus stop while a dark and a potential sexual predator in Adidas gear circles around her. As the man slowly closes in, the panic becomes palpable… Stern masterfully uses the camera to visually relay the feeling of solitude and fear.

The last of the fiction films, All the Tired Horses by Sebastian Mayr is a drama set around the dining table – on New Year’s eve. Two couples who do not know each other meet for a house party. While they wait for the third couple – common friends who connect them – the absence of this social glue becomes apparent and the night turns into a fiasco.

From the other two films in the block, Morsen – Federspiel deals with a female lacrosse sports team, combining images from a match with more personal studies of players and their relations. O! Fortuna I-VI is broader and conveyed the abstract notion of growing up. Through a colorful and excellently assembled collage of various home video snippets, it captures specific moments and motifs from one girl’s growing up. While we peruse through the book of her life, we are faced with a “horse loving” phase, teenager rebel years, first trips from home, the throwing of old toys and so on. This is done in an unpretentious way, with subtle humor and optimism for the future, resulting in a beautiful film with a strong message. The only element that clashes with the integrity of this art piece are its poorly executed intertitles.

All in all, Future/Music was a very well balanced program block. Unpretentious and emotionally powerful personal and social fiction studies from were very well juxtaposed with the two experimental films, especially the joyful and profoundly humane O! Fortuna I-VI.

Dinko Štimac