This article was updated on July 10, 2003.
Defiantly eccentric, “Ravioli” charts the lifelong shortcomings of an Austrian nebbish as a ruminative comedy of never-ending tragedies. Similar to recent the Polish pity party “The Day of the Wacko,” pic will fare about as well: sporadic fest exposure, limited regional sales and mid-range homevid life.
Returning to his mother’s vacant apartment after her funeral (dad’s in an old folks’ home), skinny loser Leopold “Heinzi” Hoschek (scripter and co-producer Alfred Dorfer) takes valium and drinks large yellow cans of beer while reflecting on the personal and professional failures in his life. These include grotesque parents, school days as a proto-slacker, and divorced wife Petra (Isabella Richtar) and son Gregor (Konrad Krusche). Only when he gains employment as a swimming pool attendant (“life-saving and German required,” says the ad) does he find a measure of peace. Helmer Peter Payer calls pic “the monologue of failure as a film experiment,” but Dorfer comes closer to the truth when he has Heinzi wonder “What if entertainment is punishment?” Tech credits are fine, with some imaginatively staged fantasy sequences accomplished on an obvious budget. Deeper meaning of title is not immediately apparent.