Austrian-Hungarian helmer Paul Rosdy (“The Port of Last Resort”) tours a now-vanished Central European empire in “New World.” Pic throws older accounts of the empire’s cities up against interviews with current residents and contempo-shot scenes. Outcome sports plenty of pretty pictures and soulful folk music, but the random structure feels overstretched. “New World” is most likely to be discovered in upscale TV docu slots.
Ambling pic visits various burgs in the former Austro-Hungarian empire, including Sarajevo, Vienna and Trieste, as well as smaller towns and rural areas in Romania, Hungary and the Ukraine. Archival footage is complimented by voiceover readings from local papers or guidebooks from a century or so ago. The difference between past and present as seen in the new footage is intriguing. But Rosdy spends less time in comparing and contrasting than he does in meeting current residents, such as a Sarajevan coppersmith who makes ornaments from spent gun shells, and a Ukrainian rabbi who takes filmmakers on tour of local Holocaust sites. Musical interludes by local folk punctuate the proceedings, the highlight being a rousing song about the oil industry sung by local factory workers.