Two individual fates move in opposite directions. Olga, a nurse from the Ukraine, abandons her family to look for a better life in the West and ends up working as a cleaning woman in a geriatric ward in Austria. Paul, an unemployed security guard from Vienna, is looking a reason to get up in the mornings and heads East with his stepfather, ending up in the Ukraine. Two young people on the move, eager to start a new life, confronted with a rough reality. Two stories about the pursuit of happiness and material advantages, about the darker sides of sexuality and death, and about the difficulties of cleaning the teeth of a stuffed fox. –Cannes Film Festival
Ulrich Seidl was born in Vienna in 1952 and grew up in the town of Horn in Lower Austria. He studied journalism, art history and drama in Vienna, supporting himself with odd jobs, before entering the prestigious Vienna Film Academy at the age of 26. In 1980 he made his first documentary, Einsvierzig. Following the controversy surrounding his second film, Der Ball (1982) – a wickedly satirical portrait of the graduation ball in his home town – Seidl was asked to leave the Film Academy. In 1990 he returned to the scene with the feature-length documentary Good News. Within the decade Seidl was to make seven more documentaries for cinema and television, winning much acclaim and many prizes for his work.
Hundstage – Dog Days, his first fiction film, was released in 2001 and won several important awards, beginning with the grand jury prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2001. The same year also saw the release of Zur Lage / State of… read more
A film with several moments of brilliance but also clearly exposed flaws. The film tries to convey a pessimistic truth to the socio-cultural circumstances, and in some ways succeeds, but it cannot be denied that the two main characters are the most contrived of the whole film. The films strengths could have been taken further - the garbage-saturated landscapes and factories, and the honest depiction of dying people.
A masterpiece. Nothing more, nothing less. The emotional rawness and direction of the film give it a documentary feel as the narrative threads through the two leads lives. The entire film is a pleasurable experience with incredible cinematography and well acted performances. A diamond in the rough.
This “secretly hopeful film on an obviously dispiriting subject” is now getting a theatrical run in New York.
This film delivers and pulls no punches at all. Ulrich Seidl stamps in his authority as a serious director right off the bat. He fly’s you straight into the heart of Austria from your couch and remains… read review