Viennale 2016: At Sea

The Viennale has every year an inofficial theme song, this year it’s undoubtedly John Barry’s Theme from The Persuaders which is to be heard in Bertrand Bonello’s Nocturama. After a week of Viennale, the films unfortunately seem to start to melt into each other. The body is drained, I attended too many parties, none of them offscreen. At some point Isabelle Huppert started rubbing me with her foot under the table. Her mom was there too. But I like her mom in L’Avenir way better because her eyes have no face. Elle gave me an adrenaline boost, Nocturama as well. I suppose there are few festivals on which one doesn’t at some moment stumble upon My Way. Yet at the Viennale it comes in Nocturama, performed (mimed) by one of the young terrorists (male), wearing make-up, walking down the stairs of the supermarket, the Sid Vicious way. It seems only natural, the Viennale is better than Il Cinema Ritrovato (and all the other film festivals I have attended). It is outrageous, I mean it positively, there is a lot of outrageousness at the Viennale so far. For whatever reason his acts makes me think of Lee Kang-sheng as some sort of mermaid in The Wayward Cloud. Completely different things, completely different implications of the musical act, so I guess it is simply because I think too often of Tsai Ming-liang. I saw his No No Sleep again at the Viennale, this time on the big screen, it made me think that naming the short-film program in which it ran „Beautiful“ was the perfect choice. But that was before I saw the other films. I suppose I am a groupie for Bonello (intellectually?), I do however wonder if seeing only this film would have turned me into one. It just happens that Bonello is one of the very best out there („there“ meaning the hazardous outside that treats talent and passion so indifferent). He has style and qualities that go way beyond simple matters of mise-en-scène.

I attend another private party moment, it has again vaguely something to do with rape, like the Christmas dinner in Elle, this one takes place in Lav Diaz‘ The Woman Who Left. Two women in a house, a transvestite, soon to be raped, and an ex-convict looking for revenge sing Somewhere from West Side Story together. A moment of solidarity between two women, as one could say there are some in Elle. Before my fever goes away I see Paul Hamy turning into João Pedro Rodrigues in O Ornitólogo, again, one of the better films of the year. My fever dissappears when Isabelle soothes me, herself and her grandson (the one in L’Avenir, not the one in Elle because that one is not her grandson) when singing À la claire fontaine. I then realize that all I wanted to say was that I have never seen anything that resembles Peter Hutton’s (yes, I’ll say it and act as if it needs no further explanation) perfect At Sea.