Not available for screening anymore


Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter

  • Austria 2011; 88 min
  • Original version: German, French, English
  • Genre: Documentary
    • Best Artistic Editing of a Documentary Film - Diagonale FF
    • Grand Prix (Special Mention) - Split FF


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.

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.




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