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Die Ameisenstraße (1995)

6.7
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In the middle of Vienna stands an old tenement building, and time has left its mark both on the house and its inhabitants. Here, time passes at a strange pace. Floor by floor, the visitor ... See full summary »

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Title: Die Ameisenstraße (1995)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Meyer ...
Alfred Navratil
Bibiane Zeller ...
Frau Gerhartl
Nikolaus Paryla ...
Roland Wanecek
Monika Tajmar ...
Frau Elvira Wanecek
Wolfgang Böck ...
Ernstl Freitag
...
Rosi Freitag
Branko Samarovski ...
Herr Halbgebauer
Maresa Hörbiger ...
Frau Halbgebauer
Josef Hendrichs ...
Onkel Wanecek
Julius Mitterer ...
Alter Mann
Elisabeth Stiepl ...
Frau Morgenwind
Dunja Sowinetz ...
Fräulein Dorli
...
Ferdinand Haslinger
Maria Hofstätter ...
Frau Haslinger
Christoph Kornauth ...
Ignaz Haslinger
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Storyline

In the middle of Vienna stands an old tenement building, and time has left its mark both on the house and its inhabitants. Here, time passes at a strange pace. Floor by floor, the visitor can discover small self-contained worlds: grousers, collectors, the forgotten, people with obsessions, concealed and exposed passions. Behind securely locked doors, each prepares his own heady brew. Then, however, death makes its entrance for the first time, sweeping through the stairwell. The owner of the house, a resident himself, dies. His nephew, an entrepreneur, inherits the building and acts immediately. He moves out, takes up lodgings, hands out notice to quit, renovates and devastates. One goal hovers before his eyes; to get rid of the tenants and make money out of the property. Gradually, the closed doors begin to open, and with each outrage committed by the new owner, the residents are drawn closer together. What comes to light thereby is an anthill full of life, and once it opens up, a ... Written by Austrian Film Commission

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Ant Street  »

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User Reviews

 
Black comedy with some fun ideas but too many characters to make a comprehensive film
2 November 2014 | by (Seoul) – See all my reviews

Early on in the film, the narrator informs us that the apartment building at the heart of "Die Ameisenstrasse" (aka "Ant Street" or "The Ant's Path") has 18 tenants, a Yugoslavian concierge, two shops, 3 children and one dog (not to mention a pair of new landlords and a crew of Polish workers who arrive later). I immediately wondered how the writers were going to introduce so many characters. The answer: with great difficulty.

There's a lot of fun ideas here....The building's tenants are an interesting slot...We've got an old lady who's a kleptomaniac, a man man obsessed with getting all the clocks in his shop to synchronize, and a bitter old woman who talks about how things were better under Hitler. When the kindly landlord dies, his nephew starts a series of never-ending "renovations" in the building bringing an infestation of seemingly unnecessary repairs, gross insects, Polish laborers and apartment hunters into the building. It's all interesting, but ultimately the director and screenwriters have too much going on for them to handle.

A cast with fewer characters might have worked better, or perhaps a TV miniseries fleshing out the building's quirky cast of residents. But with its 86-minute running time, it seems like we never really get to know anyone very well, and too many promising subplots appear and disappear without much resolution.

Having said all that,"Ameisenstrasse" is never dull and there's enough going on to keep the viewer's interest. This film was the Austrian nominee to the Oscars in 1995 (it was actually better than at least two of the films nominated that year) and was released on DVD with English subtitles in Austria around 2009. 7/10


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