This year, the Austrian feature “Soldate Jeannette” made it into the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival.
Each year in mid-January, the international and American film world convenes at the 10-day Sundance Festival in the mostly sunny, but icy cold and snow-frozen Park City, near the Mormon town of Salt Lake City, Utah. For the first time in a very long while, an Austrian film competed, in the category "World Cinema Dramatic Competition."
Soldate Jeannette, Daniel Hoesl's feature-length debut, was able to stand its ground in the preselection process against hundreds of competitors in this, the most important independent film festival, founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Each year, a team of programming associates screens, evaluates, selects, and ranks a total of 12,000 films. Ultimately, only twelve international films are shown. The programming process takes months and this year, The New York Times published an article about all those who remained in the "Salon des Refusées."
Soldate Jeannette, tells the story of two strong women whose paths cross on a rural Austrian farm at a time when both of them want something new out of their lives. The film is less about the story than it is about the impressive images which Gerald Kerkletz captured of Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg and Christina Reichsthaler, from the forest, the darkness, and the landscape, to the abrupt slaughter of a cow. Critics also praised the way the film plays with silences as well as its long takes and Bettina Köster and Gustav's wonderful music.
This antimaterialist cinematic punk poem created by the "European Film Conspiracy" – as the production team, led by Katharina Posch, calls itself – earned both the approval of trade audiences as well as that of what appeared to be non-cineastes, sitting in the theater with their cowboy hats on. In a Q&A session after a screening, for instance, one woman wanted to know whether the various Euro bills the main character burns also produce various degrees of heat. (Andreas Stadler)