METROPOLE’s Top 10 Films at the Viennale!

It’s that time of the year again: Today, the Viennale kicks off, Austria’s premier film festival! Featuring over 300 films from all over the world shown over 15 days, it’s a cinephile’s paradise, with numerous talks, parties and personal appearances by notable directors rounding out an already stacked program!

With such a massive selection, you might find it hard to choose; fortunately, METROPOLE has got your back! Here is our selection of 10 of the most intriguing movies to be screened at the 56th Viennale.

! (We are giving away free tickets for several screenings.)

10. Netemo Sametemo (Asako I & II)

Hamaguchi Ryusuke (Japan/F), 2018, Japanese with English subtitles. Oct 27, 18:00, Gartenbaukino & Oct 28, 20:30, Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus

Paralleling Hitchcock’s Vertigo, 21-year-old Asako is immediately smitten when she meets charismatic, rebellious Baku. When their whirlwind romance is cut short by Baku’s abrupt disappearance, she’s devastated — until she meets a highly conformist businessman identical to him two years later. Initially framed as a romantic drama, Netemo Sametemo transitions into a complex, mysterious examination of traditional tropes like doppelgängers and mistaken identity, set within contemporary Japanese youth culture. Hamaguchi will attend the screening.

9. Le Livre d’Image (The Picture Book)

Jean-Luc Godard (CH), 2018, French/English/Arabic/Italian/German with German subtitles. Nov 1, 15:30, Gartenbaukino

A compelling avant-garde visual experiment from nouvelle vague legend Jean-Luc Godard, Le Livre d’Image addresses war and politics, challenging the concept of group identity while questioning Western acuity. Even at 87, Godard weaves a complex and sophisticated tapestry from countless clips ranging from silent films to ISIS executions, providing intellectual stimulation with his own reflexions as narrator.

8. Chaos

Sara Fattahi, (A/Syria/Lebanon/Qatar), 2018, Arabic/German with German subtitles Nov 5, 18:00, Gartenbaukino

Vienna based director Sara Fattahi looks at life in exile and memories of war in her second documentary. Seemingly calm scenes of Fattahi herself in Vienna, and the two protagonists Heba & Raja fail to conceal the rage, sadness, and sense of loss that still haunts them to this very day.

7. Ray & Liz

Richard Billingham (GB), 2018, in English. Oct 26, 21:00, Gartenbaukino & Oct 28, 18:00, Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus

Frank, raw and autobiographical, director Richard Billingham first feature film recreates his childhood in a dysfunctional, working-class Birmingham family: Plagued by alcoholism and unemployment, his parents’ run-down dilapidated council flat conveys a sense of hopelessness and isolation, an environment Billingham eventually escaped through his successful photography career. Billingham himself will be present for the screening.

6. What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?

Roberto Minervini (I/USA/F), 2018, in English. Oct 30, 20:00, Gartenbaukino & Nov 1, 15:30, Filmmuseum

Alternating between the political and the personal, this black-and-white documentary follows two young brothers from a black neighborhood in New Orleans as the New Black Panther party rises to prominence. In the face of violent hate crimes, issues of race, family and gender take center stage, giving new urgency to the political mobilization of the disenfranchised in the Deep South. The director will be present for the screening.

5. Wildlife

Paul Dano (USA), 2018, in English. Nov 4, 23:15, Gartenbaukino & Nov 6, 20:30, Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus

Introspective and thoughtful, actor Paul Dano’s directorial debut stars Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeanette and Jerry, a couple in 1960s rural Montana struggling to save their marriage and raise their teenage son. Between infidelity and unemployment, the family descends into crises as devastating as the wildfires raging through the hills around them.

4. A Land Imagined

Yeo Siew Hua (Singapore/F/NL), 2018, Bengali/English/Mandarin with English subtitles. Nov 6, 17:30, Gartenbaukino & Nov 8, 18:30, Urania

This dark mystery follows the mysterious disappearance of a Chinese construction worker in Singapore, uncovering corruption and exploitation along the way. Fiction with a social message, the dreamlike noir storyline will keep you on the edge of your seat.

3. Diamantino

Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt (P/F/Brasil), 2018, Portuguese with English subtitles. Oct 29, 20:30, Gartenbaukino & Oct 30, 18:30, Urania

Diamantino, a world-famous footballer reminiscent of Christiano Ronaldo, has a bizarre secret behind his success – in his mind, the field around him transforms into a fantasy dreamscape of fluffy pink clouds and giant puppies during every match. When the illusion suddenly ceases, though, his career takes a nosedive and his idyllic life descends into a nightmare: his sisters conspire against him, investigators accuse him of money laundering, and his spontaneous adoption of a refugee child apparently backfires. Directors Abrantes and Schmidt have created an oddly charming celebrity satire, balancing surreal plotlines with politically relevant themes. Schmidt will be present for the screening.

2. Girl

Lukas Dhont, (Belgium/NL), 2018, French/Flemish/English with German subtitles. Oct 28, 23:15, Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus & Nov 7, 15:30 Gartenbaukino

A critical and fan favourite at Cannes this year, Girl tells the story of Lara, a teenager who dreams of becoming a ballerina but was born with a male body. Between hormone treatments, surgery and grueling ballet training, Lara’s coming of age struggles are just like anyone else’s, making the film relatable to all.

1. Jiang Hu Er Nü (Ash Is Purest White)

Jia Zhangke (China/France/Japan), 2018, Mandarin with English subtitles. Nov 1, 12:30 Gartenbaukino

Directed by the influential Jia Zhangke, this Chinese Drama follows a pair of criminals and “history’s losers” as they venture across the People’s Republic over the span of over a decade, with separations through jail time challenging their relationship. With a strong female lead and a gripping plot, it’s a poetic elegy on the rapid changes within Chinese society.it’s no wonder the film was selected to compete at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.