Austria Literature and Cinema

Literature. – The new century opened in Austria with the success of Elfriede Jelinek (b.1946), Nobel Prize for literature in 2004, who confronted herself in her vast work with the mechanisms of violence, extending her range of action to the global sphere and the danger of nuclear power (Kein Licht, 2011, and Fukushima-Epilog, 2012). Christoph Rans mayr (b. 1954) has also responded to the challenges of the global era, in particular with Der fliegende Berg (2006; trans. It. The flying mountain, 2008) and Atlas eines ängstlichen Mannes (2012) in which the ecological disaster is shown. Apocalyptic are the scenarios explored by Peter Handke (b. 1942) in the novel Kali. Eine Vorwintergeschichte (2007; trans. It. The mountain of salt. A history of early winter, 2011) – which has a post modern landscape devastated by World War III – and Die morawische Nacht (2008; trans. It. The night of Morava, 2012) on the war in the Balkans. The apocalyptic trend was also followed by Robert Schneider (b. 1961) who, after the success of Kristus in 2004 (trans. It. 2006), was reconfirmed with Die Offenbarung (2007; trans. It. L’apocalisse, 2009). On the other hand, the writing of the Carinthian Josef Winkler (b.1953), author of Winnetou, Abel und ich (2014), restarts from the Indian world. Along the path of Anti-Heimat literature are Gerhard Roth (b.1942) and Walter Kappacher (b.1938), 2009 Büchner Prize and author of Selina (2005), Der Fliegenpalast (2009) and Schönheit des Vergehens (2009). But the greatest exponent of this trend is Robert Menasse (b.1954), who focuses his vast work on the theme of European identity (as in Das war Österreich. Gesammelte Essays zum Land ohne Eigenschaften, 2005). Her sister, Eva Menasse (b. 1970), author in recent years in particular from Vienna (2005; trans. It. All the rest is of primary importance, 2006) has also established herself on the Austrian literary scene, who an Austrian family saga. Linked to R. Menasse is Robert Schindel (b. 1944), an author very present in the cultural and political debate and active not only in opera production (Fremd bei mir selbst. Die Gedichte (1965-2003), 2004; Wundwurzel, 2005; Mein mausklickendes Saeculum, 2008), but also in the prose with Kassandra (1979-2004) and the novel Der Kalte (2013). The famous writer Friederike Mayröcker (b. 1924), also author of the Scardanelli collection (2009), dedicated a work entitled Kassandra im Fenster (2008) to the same mythological figure. The writer Josef Haslinger (b.1955) who recently published the collection of short stories Zugvögel (2006), but also Phi Phi Island, continues to be successful. Ein Bericht (2007) and Jáchymov (2011).

According to directoryaah, among the writers who reflect on issues related to historical trauma, a prominent position belongs to the Austrian naturalized American writer who survived the Holocaust, Ruth Klüger (b.1931), author among other things in the last years of Gelesene Wirklichkeit (2006) and Gemalte Fensterscheiben (2007) on the dialectical relationship between lived experience and fiction. The pen of the writer Maja Haderlap (b. 1961) insists on historical themes, whose autobiographical debut novel Engel des Vergessens (2011; transl. It. The angel of oblivion, 2014) recounts his experience in the Slovenian countryside full of traumatic memories. The past of Austria is also at the center of a successful novel, winner of the Deutscher Buch-Preis, such as Es geht uns gut (2005, trans. It. All right, 2008) by Arno Geiger (b. 1968), author also of the award-winning Der alte König in seinem Exil (2011; trans. it. The old king and his exile, 2012). Marlene Steeruwitz (b.1950) – established and known for Jessica, 30 (2004), Die Schmerz macherin (2011), Nachkommen (2014) – questions herself in Morire in Levitate (2004) on the ‘memory of guilt’ in the new generations. The Holocaust drama was at the center of the literary work of Israeli writer naturalized Austrian Doron Rabinovici (n. 1961), after the fortune of the novel Suche nach M. (1997; trans. It. In search of M., 2014), has published Ohnehin (2004) and Andernorts (2010; trans. It. Elsewhere, 2014), recovering the Jewish tradition of the family romance. Like Rabinovici and Russian-born author Vladimir Vertlib (b.1966; author in particular by Schimos Schweigen, 2012), the Bulgarian writer and playwright (German-speaking and Viennese by adoption) Dimitré Dinev (b. 1968) is also interested in the theme of emigration (cf. Engelszungen, 2003; Ein Licht über dem Kopf, 2005).

Apart from the success of Wolf Haas (b. 1960) and Daniel Glattauer (b. 1960), a growing attention towards the well-being society and the media dimension has been renewed among the ranks of the most recent generation of writers. These are the recurring motifs in the work of Thomas Glavinic (b. 1972), author of the apocalyptic novel Die Arbeit der Nacht (2006; trans. It. The inventions of the night, 2007), followed by Das bin doch ich (2007) and Lisa (2011). In addition to the writer Franzobel (pseud. Of Franz Stefan Griebl, b.1967) and the Austro-German author Daniel Kehlmann (b.1972), Kathrin Röggla (b.1971), author of narrative and theatrical texts, is also part of this framework. but above all known for a hyper-realistic novel on the generation of the precarious world of work: Wir schlafen nicht (2004; trans. it. We do not sleep, 2005). Clemens Setz (b. 1982) deserves attention, who in Söhne und Planeten (2007; trans. It. Sons and planets, 2012), criticized the superficial respectability of Austrian society.

Cinema. – Contemporary Austrian cinema, which reappeared on the international film scene in the last decade of the end of the millennium, is the result of the social tensions of the year 1977, which resulted in the occupation of the Arena slaughterhouse (filmed by Josef Aichholzer and Ruth Beckermann in Arena besetzt, 1977), which was followed, in the 1980s, by a season of cultural renewal which, referring to the German model, introduced the necessary infrastructures for the consolidation of a national cinema.

Between 1989 and 1990 two works, in the order Der siebente Kontinent (The seventh continent) by Michael Haneke and the documentary Good news: Von Kolporteuren, toten Hundenund anderen Wienern by Ulrich Seidl, established themselves as cornerstones of all subsequent Austrian film production which, beyond the different directorial sensibilities, would have demonstrated a certain continuity of themes that can be summarized in a feeling of idiosyncrasy for those social dynamics incubating old Nazisms and new fascisms disguised as democracy, for the primacy of the economy, for the xenophobia that generates fear, a sense of encirclement, and justifies autism, endogamy. What is emerging is a genealogy of authors that has its founders in Karl Kraus (1874-1936), Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989) and Elfriede Jelinek (b.1946) from whom they inherited a dark and hallucinated, furious imagination and meticulous, with an almost pedantic, apocalyptic and daily minutiae.

Haneke’s cinema (v.) Is a term of reference for Jessica Hausner, who is particularly careful in reinterpreting the field-off-screen dialectic (Lovely Rita, 2001; Hotel, 2004; Lourdes, 2009; Amour fou, 2014), Götz Spielmann (Antares, 2004; Revanche, 2008; Oktober November, 2013) and Markus Schleinzer (Michael, 2011) who, of the author of Amour (2012), was a collaborator for La pianiste (2001; La pianista), Le temps du loup (2003) ; Time of the Wolves), Das weisse Band (2009; The white ribbon).

Das weiße Band

On the documentary front, the ‘Austrian gaze’ that pursues the awareness of reality, of which, together with Seidl, Michael Glawog ger (Whores’ glory, 2011) was one of the most radical interpreters, knows interesting female declinations with Nina Kusturica (Vienna’s lost daughters, 2007; Little alien, 2009) and Barbara Albert (Zur Lage: Österreich in sechs Kapiteln, 2002), later also confronted with fiction (Fallen, 2006; Die Lebenden, 2012). From the Seidlian school are Veronika Franz (Ich seh, Ich seh, 2014), wife and collaborator of Seidl, and Daniel Hoesl (Soldier Jeannette, 2013), his assistant from 2007 to 2013. Again Haneke, with his reflection on the mechanisms of the occult media exhibition, is at the center of the most recent works by Nikolaus Geyrhalter (Abendland, 2011) and Remo Rauscher (The streets of the invisibles, 2011).

Austria Cinema