An unfamiliar circus-artist uncle turns up on the doorstep of an Austrian actor in “The Shine of Day,” another gentle and meandering docu-fiction from Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel (“La Pivellina”). Again shooting loosely on 16mm, the filmmakers follow busy real-life theater thesp Philipp Hochmair as he tries to find room between rehearsals and performances in Vienna and Hamburg to get to know his dad’s black-sheep brother, Walter (Walter Saabel, “La Pivellina”). Seemingly semi-improvised pic is a minor but often very charming work that’ll shine at sprocket operas and in ancillary.Hochmair, playing a version of himself and occasionally seen onstage in real productions, perfectly fits into what now feels like the scribe-helmers’ recognizable m.o. He’s clearly got acting talent in spades, and one of “Day’s” small pleasures lies in trying to figure out to what extent, if any, he’s acting when playing “Philipp.” His rapport with the fictional intruder/relative seems realistically inquisitive and then increasingly warm, though the pic’s most hilarious sequence, involving Hochmair and Walter’s knife-throwing skills, does feel particularly staged. Final act, featuring an immigrant neighbor (Vitali Leonti), goes nowhere and ends rather abruptly.
A Vento Film production in association with Innovative Film Austria. Produced by Rainer Frimmel. Directed by Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel. Screenplay, Covi, Frimmel, Xaver Bayer.
Camera (color, 16mm-to-HD), Frimmel; editors, Covi, Emily Artman; sound, Manuel Grandpierre. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 5, 2012. Running time: 89 MIN.
Philipp Hochmair, Walter Saabel, Vitali Leonti. (German, English dialogue)