Austria is very fortunate to have the Viennale, the Vienna International Film Festival, and festival followers, with their great interest, show that they appreciate this professionally organized festival which shows around 300 films. The Viennale is an audience-focused festival and the great and historic theatres it is held in are always crowded with enthusiastic film goers. The 52nd edition was special as it had impressive attendance figures: this year 98,200 people visited the Viennale and 81.2 percent of tickets were sold.
The festival selection has room for the latest features from masters such as Jean-Luc Godard, the Dardenne brothers, Tommy Lee Jones, Olivier Assayasand, Abel Ferrara (who was a festival guest) as well as emerging young directors. The FIPRESCI jury had 20 films to watch, all of them first and second features. The award was given to Court directed by Chaitanya Tamhane. This Indian film is about a political justice case, specifically focused on corruption in the Indian justice system, and makes room for class politics.
The Viennale is not a festival of many awards but in addition to the FIPRESCI award, Der Standard Readers' Jury Award was given to Bird People by Pascale Ferran. There was also the Vienna Film Award, for Austrian films in the selection, which went to the feature film Macondo by Sudabeh Mortezai and the documentary We Come As Friends by Hubert Sauper. In addition to new films around the world, the Viennale hosts tributes and retrospectives for audiences who like to dive into cinema history. This year there was a retrospective of John Ford which got a lot of attention and a special program of 16 mm films. Special tributes were also held for actor Viggo Mortensen and filmmaker Harun Farocki. (Nil Kural)
Vienna International Film Festival: www.viennale.at