10 Films you Shouldn’t Miss at the Viennale 2017

Cinephiles rejoice! Every year, Christmas comes early as the Viennale rolls in, offering up a broad swath of features, documentaries and short films from crowd pleasers to experimental works, supplemented with retrospectives and gems of non-western cinema

With about 300 different films over two weeks however, even the most enthusiastic movieholic may feel overwhelmed. But fear not, METROPOLE has you covered! Here are 10 of the most intriguing, shocking, insightful, and worthy pictures of the 55th Viennale. For even more Viennale picks, see our On Screen feature from the October issue.

10. Le Serpent aux mille coupures (Thousand cuts)

Eric Valette (F), 2016, Subtitled in English. Oct 22, 21:15, Urania & Oct 31, 23:00, Gartenbau

An atmospheric, stylized thriller, Thousand Cuts has a slick, unnamed Asian Assassin taking refuge after a hit at a vineyard in rural France. Run by a mixed family ostracized by their neighbors, tensions with the unwanted guest soon flare into violence. Not unlike a contemporary update of sleek, hardboiled French crime films like Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï with a societal subtext, director Eric Valette will attend the screening.

9. Patti Cake$

Geremy Jasper (USA), 2017, In English with German subtitles. Oct 21, 23:30, Gartenbau & Oct 25, 21:00, Urania

A feel-good movie for the new millennium, Patti Cake$ follows the young and overweight Patricia Dombrowski’s rise from the desolate suburbs of New Jersey to hip-hop stardom, refusing to let anything stand in her way – neither race nor poverty nor bodyshaming nor haters. Think A star is Born, only ghettofabulous.

8. Barbara

Mathieu Amalric (F), 2017, Subtitled in English. Oct 28, 20:30, Gartenbau & Oct 29, 13:30, Metro

Acclaimed actor/director Mathieu Amalric takes a decidedly meta approach to the legendary chanteuse, framing his biopic with a film production within the film, allowing fiction and reality to merge while celebrating Barbara’s life and music. Amalric will attend the screening.

7. 78/52

Alexandre O. Philippe (USA), 2017, In English. Oct 23, 21:00, Urania & Oct 24, 13:00, Metro

Referencing the 78 individual shots and 52 cuts it took to change cinema forever, 78/52 is an in-depth analysis of Alfred Hitchcock’s infamous shower scene from Psycho, consulting numerous theorists, historians and experts like Eli Roth, Danny Elfman, Bret Easton Ellis and Peter Bogdanovich on its cinematic and cultural significance. Director Alexandre O. Philippe will attend the screening.

6. Grave (Raw)

Julia Ducournau (F/B), 2016, subtitled in English. Oct 25, 23:00, Gartenbau & Oct 31, 23:00, Stadtkino

Justine is an innocent, virginal veterinary student, but after a traumatic incident, she develops a feverish desire for flesh – in more ways than one. A trippy, disturbing vegan’s nightmare and the eminently stylish feature debut of rising star Julia Ducournau.

5. Sanpo suru shinryakusha (Before We Vanish)

Kurosawa Kiyoshi (J), 2017, subtitled in English. Oct 25, 23:00, Stadtkino & Nov 2, 21:00, Urania

In a nod to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, aliens infiltrate Earth by hiding in human hosts, but have to assimilate certain human concepts like “Work;” “Family;” and “Love.” Based on a play, idiosyncratic master of suspense Kiyoshi Kurosawa takes a cheesy sci-fi premise and transforms it into a subversive social satire with a transcendent ending.

4. The Master

Paul Thomas Anderson (USA), 2012, in English. Oct 31, 18:00, Gartenbau

Acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson uses a plot loosely based on L. Ron Hubbard and the early days of Scientology to reflect on trauma, father-son relationships and the visceral, bestial nature of man, with standout performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Shown in glorious 70 mm.

3. A Ghost Story

David Lowery (USA), 2016, in English. Oct 26, 22:00, Stadtkino & Oct 27, 11:00, Urania

Slow-paced, surreal and poetic, A Ghost Story explores time, love, longing, immortality and connection, imbuing its stereotypical white-sheeted ghost with unexpected profundity. Starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.

2. The Force

Peter Nicks (USA), 2017, in English. Oct 20, 15:30, Gartenbau & Oct 22, 18:00, Metrokino

Winning Peter Nicks the director’s prize for U.S. documentary this year at Sundance, The Force looks at the infamous Oakland Police Department as it tries to reform itself in the wake of corruption and abuse and regain an agitated public’s faith, mirroring the struggle of law enforcement across America in the Black Lives Matter era.

1. The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro (USA), 2017, in English with German subtitles. Oct 20, 21:00 & Oct 22, 13:00, Gartenbau

Winner of this year’s Golden Lion in Venice, director Guillermo del Toro’s latest is set in the 1950s, featuring a mute cleaning lady who falls in love with a mysterious aquatic creature held captive in a secret government lab. A touching, weird tale of girl-meets-monster, it’s a visual stunner to rival del Toro’s breakout film Pan’s Labyrinth.

Binu Starnegg
Manila born, Brooklyn bred and a longtime resident of Vienna, Binu Starnegg is currently managing editor for Metropole, where he completes myriad tasks with style and aplomb. Photo: Visual Hub

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