Three to see at LFF if you like... films from Germany and Austria

Juliane Grieb recommends three hot tickets at the BFI London Film Festival: a film by an established director, a great debut and a wild card.

Juliane Grieb
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The new film from an established director…

Angelo

Angelo (2018)

What’s it about?

This is the mesmerising portrait of Angelo Soliman, a forced Europeanised African who makes his way through Viennese society in the early 18th century. Inspired by the few remaining records of the life of the Viennese ‘court Moor’, it’s a moving tale exploring homeland, identity, conformity and the nature of belonging.

Who made it?

Vienna-born Markus Schleinzer has worked as an actor and casting director on more than 60 feature films, including Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon (2009). His controversial directorial debut, Michael, was a Palme d’Or contender in 2011 and later screened at the LFF. Angelo is his highly anticipated second feature.

What’s special about it?

What’s it like to be deprived of your homeland as a child? What does it mean not to meet anyone who is like you? Divided into three chapters from Soliman’s life, Angelo boasts beautiful, almost stage-like images that belie its protagonist’s rocky and challenging “path to becoming human”.

While he’s forced to assimilate, it becomes obvious that Soliman will never truly be part of the high society. The result is an important testimony that – in times of growing intolerance – feels all too relevant. 

See this if you like…

12 Years a Slave (2013), Black Venus (2010), Belle (2013) 

The breakthrough…

In the Aisles (In den Gängen)

In the Aisles (2018)

What’s it about?

In the Aisles is a poetic, workplace romance set in the seemingly banal universe of a wholesale supermarket. Christian is hired to support Bruno in the liquor section and falls in love with Marion (Toni Erdmann’s dazzling Sandra Hüller) from the confectionary department.

Who made it?

Born in Leipzig in 1981, Thomas Stuber studied at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. His film Von Hunden und Pferden (2012) was nominated for a Student Academy Award, while Herbert (2015) premiered in Toronto, also winning the silver German Film Award. In the Aisles is his third collaboration with German author Clemens Meyer. 

What’s special about it?

While the workplace dominates most people’s lives, it’s significantly underrepresented in cinema. Not here. Huber’s film sees relationships and loneliness play out against a backdrop of forklift conflict in the wholesale aisles, as the swells of Strauss’s Blue Danube fill the soundtrack. It’s a deeply empathetic and humane character study that celebrates the small and special moments in life.

Actors Hüller and Rogowski are a delight to watch, reminding us that sometimes we simply have to look differently at the everyday to discover something magical. 

See this if you like…

In the Mood for Love (2000), Cashback (2006), Gigante (2009)

The wild card…

Styx

Styx (2018)

What’s it about?

Rieke, a successful doctor, wants to fulfil her dream of solo sailing from Gibraltar to Ascension, a small tropical island in the middle of the Atlantic, to see Darwin’s imported flora. But her beautiful adventure suddenly turns into an ethical dilemma when she spots a boat full of refugees nearby. 

Who made it?

Austrian Wolfgang Fischer studied psychology and painting at the University of Vienna, as well as film and video at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He took a degree in film and television at the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne. Styx is his second feature.

What’s special about it?

Filmed almost entirely on the high seas, Fischer’s film presents a profoundly unsettling picture of the western world’s indifference and helplessness in the face of the refugee crisis. Played by the brilliant Susanne Wolff, Rieke is a woman who loves challenges, revealing a fascinating determination and willpower. But when she tries to organise help for the refugees, she’s soon forced to decide which world she belongs to – prompting the viewer to do the same.

At a time when humanitarianism has become political, Styx raises issues of personal responsibility, privilege and racism as provocative touchpoints.

See this if you like…

All Is Lost (2013), Captain Phillips (2013), Maidentrip (2013)

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  • BFI London Film Festival

    BFI London Film Festival

    The 62nd BFI London Film Festival runs 10-21 October 2018. Browse for tickets online and don’t forget that a limited number of standby tickets will...

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