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this 4-parter plays in austria's own zillertal, but can be applied to
tourist ghetto in the world. besides all the fun you have with the
piefke-saga - there is a serious core in it, and it's played in a
this is an incredible saga about a german family that visits an austrian tourist center for decades and finally settles there. it shows perfectly what tourist want, how they get it - on the surface - and how much the 'natives' hate, betray and clip them behind their backs. some of the best actors and actresses from austria and germany bring their actions to a pulsing life.
all this should of course not keep you from a visit to this beautiful country ... unless you are a ... piefke ;-)
P.S.: i don't know if it is available in english. bet it would lose much when they don't talk in their original dialects!
A Berlin manager and his family have used to spend their holidays in a small Austrian village for many years. One day (and that's the non-fictional starting point of the fictional movie), a popular German show-master asks his Austrian candidates which of the Germans they would call "Piefke". It turns out that not all of the Germans are called Piefke, but only those who travel around and behave arrogantly in other countries. Nevertheless, a lot of Germans cancel their holidays in Austria (another non-fictional result of the show, by the way) and complain that nobody should bite the hand feeding him. Amongst those who complain is the Berlin manager. The major of the village, who also runs a hotel and who is related to everybody in the local tourism industry has to apologize and simply blames the "stupid Viennese who do not understand the real value of Germans". But not everybody in the village is a fan of to many tourists - especially the village teacher, who is the brother of the major (!) tries to save the mountains and wants to prohibit an extensive tourism industry. A wonderful satire, showing the differences between two neighbor countries (and you would not believe how big they can be!), the different behavior considered as rude or impolite by the other people, the prejudice and gorges between and how to overcome them.
I suppose the metaphor that this series is trying to express can be
applied to any two neighboring countries that on one hand need and on
the other hate each other.
If you cut down the metaphors to actual sentences the story can be explained like this: A stereotypical (from the eyes of an Austrian - like the writer) German family is traditionally vacationing in the Austrian Alps. After realizing that in the background they (and their fellow Germans) aren't welcome at all they (in fact mostly only the father) try to boycott the holiday area. But the mayor manages to persuade the family to stay and even "binds" them to the place by starting to make business with them. From now on a "looking behind the masks" from both sides emerges allowing both parties to dig a little deeper into the real cultures of their opposites. It is a changing play of illusion and disillusion and coming to terms with them.
In fact "Die Piefka Saga" breaks a taboo by telling the truth about the holiday industry that nobody (on vacation) wants to hear about. The German family comes to Austria with the illusion that this country is still "pure" and free of pollution, corruption, big industrialization and cosmopolitan bias. Isn't that the promise we get from the travel agencies about almost any country we (want to) travel to? The final chapter of the series is even a satire in itself as it uses almost US-American like slap-stick humor at some points to exaggerate this fact: History and tradition have become a lucrative business in the past decades which is a global matter. In this version it's actually Japanese people who took over in the background - assimilating everyone into traditional Austrians to keep up the illusion of uncompromised purity for tourists.
In fact (if you understand the metaphor) this is happening all around the world. People pretend to be traditional to sell a product - as a result even if you buy a souvenir in Brasil it will most likely be made in China.
Even if you are a non-German speaking person and can get your hands on a DVD with translations, don't hesitate. This is definitely more than just a satire and (by the way) gives you a great view on Austrian/German cultures and how they interact.
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