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The Viennale

Related: Vienna - film festival - Austria

The Viennale (October 15-27, 2004)

The Viennale isn't very well known in the U.S. -- probably because the fest is non-competitive and doesn't have any acquisitions activity to speak of -- but the Americans who do come rave about it. This year, a number of U.S. film directors were in attendance during the festival's run from October 15-27, including Ondi Timoner ("Dig!"), Joe Berlinger ("Metallica: Some Kind of Monster"), Mark Milgard ("Dandelion"), and Jem Cohen ("Chain"), along with U.S. critics such as Peter Brunette, Ed Halter, and Jonathan Rosenbaum. Of course prominent international directors also attended, such as Olivier Assayas, Benoit Jacquot, Arnaud Desplachin, Agnes Varda, and Hirokazu Kore-eda.

The Viennale showed almost 300 films in total, but that includes a large retrospective and short films -- the features program feels more manageable at 63 narratives and 45 docs. Programming trends this year included a number of music films ("Metallica," "Dig!," "Touch the Sound," "Fallen Angel: Gram Parsons"), a heavy load of documentaries (a festival record at about 40 percent), and a number of unusual takes on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Even without a competition, there were a few prizes: the FIPRESCI jury recognized Lisandro Alonso's "Los Muertos" and Debra Granik's "Down to the Bone." A jury of readers of the newspaper Der Standard selected "Los Muertos" as the best film, with a special mention to "Hakoah Lischot" (Watermarks), about a Viennese swim club shut down by the Nazis in 1938.

--Wendy Mitchell, http://www.indiewire.com/onthescene/onthescene_041029vien.html [Oct 2004]

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