Vienna’s Indie Cinemas Screen Old Favorites and Current Releases

A cavalcade of films new and old welcome starved cinephiles back last weekend

In another step toward pre-coronavirus normalcy, many of Vienna’s smaller cinemas have reopened as of last weekend, ahead of the larger (and more risky) multiplexes, with masks obligatory on the way in and out, but not while seated. As most of these so-called Programmkinos (arthouse cinemas) tend toward European and international independent fare, cinephiles can look forward to a mix of beloved classics, thought-provoking off-Hollwood fare, special programs and new releases mothballed by quarantine. Here are some of the upcoming highlights in English!

After offering a small selection on contemporary black American cinema earlier this week, the Votivkino is picking up Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You again, a scathing indictment of the human cost of the gig economy, as well as reviving Hitchcock’s timeless Vertigo (starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak) this Saturday. This is in addition to a very strong lineup of French films (subtitled in German), including J’accuse, Roman Polanski’s celebrated take on the Dreyfuss affair, La Verité, a mother-daughter drama on the subjectivity of memory starring Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche (with Ethan Hawke in a supporting role) and Le Daim (Deerskin), an absurdist comedy featuring Jean Dujardin as a man so enamored with his expensive new leather jacket he starts conversing with it. 

The Burgkino (link) celebrates it reopening with a Frederico Fellini mini-festival, showing 8 ½ on Friday and La Dolce Vita on Saturday; other screenings include the opening of The High Note, a music drama set in LA starring Dakota Johnson, the return of the Jane Austen adaptation Emma, Greta Gerwig’s cinematic take on Little Women, and this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Parasite. They will also resume their longstanding tradition of regular screenings of The Third Man, beginning this Sunday.  

The venerable Gartenbaukino will see the return of Tommaso, Abel Ferrara’s latest film starring Willem Dafoe as an American expat living in Rome, as well as the start of The Souvenir, Joanna Hogg’s highly anticipated drama starring Honor Swinton Byrne and her mother, Tilda Swinton, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. As a special treat this weekend, they will also show Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange on Friday as well as the two later Mad Max films, Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road, in a double feature on Saturday.

Somewhat more commercial fare can be found at Haydn Kino, which will also resume Emma, Little Women and Parasite as well as Taika Waititi’s WWII farce Jojo Rabbit and Guy Ritchie’s latest British gangster flick The Gentlemen. Popular crowd pleasers from recent years are also back, like Call me by your Name, Inception, 1917, Judy and Knives Out. 

The café/cinema Top Kino is also screening Little Women, J’accuse and The Gentlemen in addition to mid90s, actor Jonah Hill directorial debut on skateboarding teenagers just before the millennium and Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love, filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s documentary on Leonard Cohen’s love affair with his muse, Marianne Ihlen.

Finally, the Filmcasino and its sister cinema, Filmhaus have screenings of Little Women, Parasite and the charming absurdist comedy It Must be Heaven by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, in addition to two special programs: Their Black Lives Matter special includes Raoul Peck’s excellent James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro and Melina Matsoukas’ Bonnie-and-Clydesque Queen & Slim, with Spike Lee’s recent BlacKKKlansman following on Monday; their Pride Month program kicks off with last year’s Viennale opener Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu (French with German subtitles) and Rafiki, an uplifting tale of youth defying homophobia and the very first Kenyan film shown in Cannes.

And Saturday late night, as a special treat, the uncut US version of Kubrick’s classic chiller The Shining. Heeeere’s Johnny!

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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