Calling your movie "Still Life" probably isn't the best way of standing out in a crowd, especially when the movie is yet another Austrian pic about pedophilia.

Calling your movie “Still Life” probably isn’t the best way of standing out in a crowd, especially when the movie is yet another Austrian pic about pedophilia. Tyro helmer Sebastian Meise’s fresh tack is to make his protag a perv in thought rather than deed, but the results don’t add much to the discussion. San Sebastian’s First Film jury gave “Still Life” an honorable mention, which should help fest bookings but little else.

Bernhard (Christoph Luser) sees dad Gerhard (Fritz Hoertenhuber) hand a note to a streetwalker (Anja Plaschg) and accompany her to a brothel. He follows them and steals the note, which instructs the prostitute to pretend she’s Gerhard’s daughter, Lydia, as a child. Deeply disturbed, Bernhard passes the note to the now-adult Lydia (Daniela Golpashin), who’s understandably freaked out, though their mother (Roswitha Soukup) seems most disturbed that the secret she kind of knew about is out in the open. Gerhard, a recovering alcoholic who never actually molested his daughter, doesn’t know what to do and gets a rifle. Repression is conveyed via hardened faces, a minimum of interfamily dialogue and a nicely controlled camera.

Still Life

Austria

Production

A FreibeuterFilm, Lotus Film production. Produced by Oliver Neumann, Erich Lackner, Thomas Pridnig, Peter Wirthensohn. Directed by Sebastian Meise. Screenplay, Thomas Reider, Meise.

Crew

Camera (color), Gerald Kerkletz; editor, Julia Drack; music, Soap&Skin; production designers, Katharina Woeppermann, Anja Ronacher; costume designer, Woeppermann. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Zabaltegi New Directors), Sept. 21, 2011. Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Fritz Hoertenhuber, Christoph Luser, Daniela Golpashin, Roswitha Soukup, Anja Plaschg.
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