Thursday, February 21, 2019

Short Film: Vienna Waits for You

A 26-minute film, this was directed by Dominik Hartl and released in 2012. What makes this interesting is that it is a vampiric location – in this case an apartment building.

It begins with an elderly lady (Traute Furthner) crawling through the apartment on her hands and knees. When she gets into the living room, she pulls a string of lacey doilies tied together, rather like linens or sheets to make a rope, from her top and ties it to the leg of a sturdy looking appliance.

The makeshift rope goes out of the window and she climbs out of the apartment, knocking a pot from the window sill. The camera lingers on the couch opposite for a moment and we see the woman give it the finger (or it appears she gives the coach the finger but it is likely the whole apartment). She tries to climb down but slips and falls, her foot catching in a loop in the rope, leaving her dangling over the pavement. She tries to grab a shard of pot, but can’t quite reach, her false teeth fall out and then something pulls her back up.

giving the finger
In the apartment some time later and the woman, and the building manager (Alexander E. Fennon), are showing the apartment to Anna (Petra Staduan). She is astounded that the apartment is so cheap but it is Government subsidised he informs her. The old lady is going to travel the world, she says. Anna is new in town, she confesses, having moved there three weeks ago to be with her boyfriend, Danial (Moritz Vierboom), but that didn’t work out. Anna signs the lease; a beep heralds a taxi and the old lady is off. In the meantime, the building manager gives Anna her key.

Anna tries to spruce the place up, throwing out ornaments and doilies, cleaning mirrors and painting walls. But the walls revert to their original colour, the mirrors become dirty again, doilies reform and fruit that Anna buys rots in the bowl in the blink of an eye. Looking in the mirror she looks haggard, older. She goes to the manager and complains – throwing the key at him and stating that the building is making her sick. She can’t leave, he explains, it is part of the contract. She cannot leave unless there is a replacement tenant.

She goes to see a doctor, citing wrinkles and grey hair but the doctor says it is normal for a woman her age. She claims to be 25 and the doctor offers to refer to a psychologist. Asking for her ID, Anna sees it has aged and has a pattern of a doily across it. She stays in a hotel but wakes much older – the building manager explains, on her return to the building, that it is part of the protocol. She cannot leave without a new tenant and the further she moves away the faster she’ll age.

the building manager and Anna
The building is able to communicate in groans – it appears – and can defend itself, for example choking Anna with a doily that appears in her throat when she tries to burn it. Eventually the manager explains that this has been going on for decades. He mentions a school next door and an attempt to starve the apartment – it aged the whole class to old age. What is Anna to do? Can she escape the apartment or even sacrifice another person to appease its hunger? If one complies then it is a pleasant enough jailer, providing coffee and biscuits. However, not only is it ageing the occupant but it is absorbing them, making them part of the apartment – we see this when she rips her paper-thin skin and sees her tendons have become threads rather than flesh and blood.

tendons replaced
This is a really inventive short and kudos to Petra Staduan who clearly had to go through heavier and heavier makeup as she was aged. Its always great to find a vampiric building film. In this case it is not a whole landscape that the building is part of; it is localised to the apartment, but it is an apartment with a long reach. There is also something slightly Faustian, with the idea of contractually binding oneself (though there seems little upside to this one, bar cheap rent, and the cost comes quick and heavy). Recommended and embedded below.

The imdb page is here.

Vienna waits for you from Glaciar Films on Vimeo.

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