Documentary feature about the traditional Viennese cinema "Bellaria", which is specialized in German cinema from the 20s, 30s and 40s and its regular customers, whose idols are stars like ... See full summary »
Documentary feature about the traditional Viennese cinema "Bellaria", which is specialized in German cinema from the 20s, 30s and 40s and its regular customers, whose idols are stars like Zarah Leander or Karl Schönböck. They're visiting regularly, some of them even daily, to see the movies of their youth. Written by
Moritz Muehlenhoff <email@example.com>
What a deceptively simple, and wonderfully revealing and enjoyable documentary this is.
It's a character study of the staff and regular patrons of the Bellaria Cinema in Vienna, which shows exclusively the German films of the 30s, mostly musicals and Ruritanian romances.
The patrons, all of "a certain age", remember the films from their first release, and most go everyday to relive the glory days of their youths.
The glimpses of the films are fascinating, but the character sketches of the staff and patrons even more so, especially the ancient projectionist, who has a unique view of sex, and the twin sister groupies (stalkers?), who spend their whole lives tracking down the famous (or formerly famous) and having their pictures taken with them.
But while the film stands on its feet purely on the strength of these character portraits, it gradually reveals something much darker. The world that all these people miss so badly, and are trying to recapture through the films, is, of course, the world of the Third Reich. Not a single one of them makes a pro- Nazi, or anti- Semitic remark, they are all perfectly ordinary, likeable, if eccentric people, but you can tell they are yearning for what they call a "simpler" or "more gracious" age.
The scary message of the film, if you care to see it, is the answer to the question: What kind of people allow a totalitarian regime take over their country? Ordinary, likeable if eccentric, people, just like you and me.
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