Abendland

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    Abendland

    Directed by

    Austria

    2011

    88 min

    • French
    • English
    • German

    Documentary

    Some things can be seen more clearly at night: ABENDLAND, Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s new feature film, undertakes a long, associative journey, surveying Europe by night in terms of its many different facets. Pulsating society of service providers and prosperity, bulwark of security and exclusion, urban civilization, hedonistic temple of earthly delights, inspired and weighed down at the same time by its history, traditions and highly developed culture.
    Night work, obliviousness to the surrounding world, noise and silence, a Babel of languages and translation problems, one’s first steps in life, disease, death and desperate attempts to cross borders: All this is revealed by Geyrhalter’s camerawork and in Wolfgang Widerhofer’s careful editing, which produce an essay film with powerful images about a continent and the principle of the Western world, ABENDLAND. At times, it seems to be on the verge of breathing its last breath.
    Once in Europa is the title of a 1987 tale by novelist and essayist John Berger which examines the unjustness of being born into certain conditions. A similar motivation may have driven Nikolaus Geyrhalter and the resolute gaze he directs at present-day life in this unjust Europe: a love of humanity that grows stronger through distance.

    Awards

    Show All Awards Show Less Awards
    • Best Artistic Editing of a Documentary Film - Diagonale FF
    • The Millennium Award & The Canon Cinematography Prize (Honorable Mention) - Planete Doc FF
    • Grand Prix (Special Mention) - Split FF

    Credits

    Screenplay
    Wolfgang Widerhofer
    Nikolaus Geyrhalter
    Maria Arlamovsky
    Cinematography
    Nikolaus Geyrhalter
    Editing
    Wolfgang Widerhofer

    Director's Statement

    It sounds like a paradise: A piece of earth that’s rich in resources, with a pleasant climate and inhabited by people who make use of these gifts to their best advantage. The conviction that such conditionsinevitably give rise to a superior culture has inspired its residents for some time, and it remains strong in the present. Life in this part of the world does in fact seem enviable.
    The people here enjoy safety and prosperity,theyhave good medical care, and a comprehensive social safety net is in place, should it be needed.No one starves here, or dies prematurely at the age of 40, and at present there’s no fear of either war or political persecution.
    What enables this privileged life is exclusivity,restricting enjoyment of the benefits, and limiting participation, for the simple reason that the available resources wouldn’t be sufficient otherwise. That’s why this paradise is sealed off by an insurmountable electrified fence.
    Whoever lives in paradise must be prepared to protect it. A film about Europe in the early 21st century.

    Sales
    AUTLOOK FILMSALES
    Production
    NIKOLAUS GEYRHALTER FILMPRODUKTION GMBH

    Press

    ... impresses with its sheer visual richness and access to behind-the-scenes of Western European political, social and media machinery

    Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa

    ... a nocturnal journey examining Europe's obsession with technology and security

    Joëlle Stolz, The Guardian

    Nikolaus Geyrhalter

    Nikolaus Geyrhalter

    Austria

    I see my profession more as a craft, I see myself as someone who lives off what he produces with a hammer and knife.

    Nikolaus Geyrhalter is a director, producer and cameraman, born in Vienna in 1972. In 1994, when he was 22 years old, he founded his own production company Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion which focusses on documentaries and auteur fiction. His film, HOMO SAPIENS (2016), was selected at the Berlinale Forum. His film THE BORDER FENCE (2018) was selected for IDFA. His film EARTH (2019) had its premiere at Berlin IFF.

    Selected Filmography