The numbers seemed good: 4,067 visitors saw “Kurz – the Film” on the opening weekend. The producers said they were “very satisfied”. Everything is just glossed over, says the “Falter”.
The Austrian newspaper executes, how the production company is said to have bought masses of tickets – but according to “Falter”, the cinema seats remained empty. The Austrian cultural journalist Günter Kaindlstorfer has followed the fuss surrounding not only this but also two other current short films.
Open the people box. Close the people box
The long-time Austrian journalist Günter Kaindlstorfer currently works for various radio stations, including Bayerischer Rundfunk, Deutschlandfunk, WDR, SRF and Deutsche Welle. He is a presenter and program designer for Austria 1.
SRF: The production company for “Kurz – der Film” is said to have bought up cinema tickets on a large scale in order to gloss over the number of visitors. What do you know about it?
Günter Kaindlstorfer: The production company Opus-R rejects this – they speak of defamation methods. But the fact seems to be that the company bought a contingent of tickets for cinema screenings – but the cinema seats remained free. Everyone can think of whatever they want. In any case, this short commercial film is not a blockbuster.
There are currently three films about Sebastian Kurz. How are they different?
It started when filmmaker Kurt Langbein announced a few years ago that he would make a critical film about Sebastian Kurz. A documentary that shows how a group of cute but tough young politicians around Sebastian Kurz takes power in the conservative ÖVP and then power in the republic. Langbein clearly has a critical, short-critical approach.
More about the three films about Sebastian Kunz
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Sebastian Kunz’s political career lasted just around 10 years. But these obviously offer enough material for three current films to deal with the former Austrian Chancellor.
«Sebastian Kurz – the truth»: The film by Croatian director Jakov Sedlar is released according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) this week. According to the FAZ, the Austrian journalist Judith Grohmann wrote the script. In 2019 she submitted an authorized short version, for which she was harsh Criticism (“kitsch novel”) and ridicule harvested. Not surprisingly, is the headline on the Austrian platform Weekend about the announced short documentary film: “Is the rom-com version coming now?”“Ballhausplatz Project”: The documentary by director Kurt Langbein, on the other hand, is very short and critical. He portrays Sebastian Kurz as “dangerous anti-democrats”. Kurz himself or his companions did not want to comment in the film – accordingly, representatives of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) were missing from the premiere a week ago. The film hits theaters on September 21st.“Short – The Film”: In Sascha Köllnreitner’s documentary, however, Kurz and political companions and supporters have their say. The aim is a “differentiated, critical portrait,” says the director Puls24. However, the film didn’t just make the headlines because of the production company, which is said to have boosted visitor numbers by purchasing tickets. Already in advance said several critical intervieweesthat they had not been correctly informed in advance about the nature of the film. The film was released in theaters on September 8th.
Shortly before the cinema release, to everyone’s surprise, it was suddenly said that there would be a second film by Sascha Köllnreitner. A director who has so far made a name for himself with sports documentaries. It is the “Kurz – the film” mentioned at the beginning. This is viewed critically by the Austrian public: it is an emotional short advertising film that is poorly disguised as a cinema documentary.
It is still a mystery as to who is financing the two pro short films.
And now we hear that a third film has been produced about Kurz, by Croatian filmmaker Jakov Sedlar. Sedlar comes from the background of Croatian nationalism and is described by critics as a kind of Croatian Leni Riefenstahl. It’s surprising that this filmmaker is also interested in Sebastian Kurz.
The three films are all released almost simultaneously. What kind of calculation is behind it?
One can only speculate about this. It is still a mystery as to who is financing the two pro short films. Maybe these are short-term sponsors from the big business sector. With the Croatian film, one could assume that autocratic friends of the former Austrian chancellor were also behind it.
Sebastian Kurz has been polarizing throughout his political life.
Many in Austria believe that Kurz is preparing a kind of political comeback with these films. Which won’t be easy, because he’ll have to go through at least two court cases in the near future before there could be any talk of a comeback.
Do these films help Sebastian Kurz to polish up his image in Austria?
I don’t know that. The fact is, Sebastian Kurz has been polarizing throughout his political life. Some adore him – many reject him. I would even think some people hate him.
This man is a narcissist, politically and probably also personally – and narcissistic personalities always polarize. But they also have a seductive power that should not be underestimated for many people. This is no different with Sebastian Kurz.
The interview was conducted by Irene Grüter.
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