×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Berlinale: First Trailer of Panorama’s ‘L’Animale,’ Sold by Films Boutique (EXCLUSIVE)

Austrian Katharina Mueckstein’s social drama registers the difficulties of individual emancipation

PARIS — Sold by Films Boutique, “L’Animale,” Austrian Katharina Mueckstein’s Berlinale Panorama Special player, kicks in, as does its trailer, with a scene of two motocross bike riders in a quarry. Helmeted, wearing pads, it’s impossible, to know their identity.

The scene sums up the story to come, as Mati, an adolescent high-school girl – one of the bikers – struggles to find and allow others to recognize her authentic identity – social, sexual. The film takes place in a forested part of Austria, where characters are straight-jacketed by a large concern for social standing. In a second scene, with Mati dressed up for her high-school graduation ceremony, her (seemingly) conventional mother encourages her to wear a proper bra.

But Mati’s life is thrown out of kilter when Sebastian, her best friend in her high-school teen bikers’ gang, announces he’s in love with her – as she’s begins to feel a growing attraction to a freewheeling slightly older girl her gang have taunted.

Mueckstein’s second feature, after 2013’s “Talea,” a mother-daughter relationship drama also starring Sophie Stockinger, “L’Animale” is produced by Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion and La Banda Film, which Mueckstein co-founded with Flavio Marchetti.

It is film which enunciates its themes far clearer than the characters can their emotions.

“What does it mean: ‘To die and to become’?” a teacher asks, as a class reads Geothe’s “Blissful Yearning.”

“It’s about how you can only be free if you overcome your fear,” answer Mati.

But that’s not easy. Revealing one’s authentic self risks not only social disgrace, but admitting one’s life was built on a lie, and  hurting others who, however restricted their worldview, one truly loves. That is as true of Mati’s parents as Mati herself.

“‘L’Animale’ is my personal answer to the question of how free we, as modern people, really are,” Mueckstein said in a director’s statement.

She added: “We want to please and be respected. We are sensitive and are often afraid. However, authenticity requires confrontation, emancipation demands effort, progress needs courage. Individual resistance, the courage to liberate one’s identity and sexuality… is the greatest revolutionary potential in our times.”

Set in an idyllic, semi-built up part of Austria of forest and rolling hills, “L’Animale” shows a society which knows the discourses of modern freedom, but is arcanely afraid to apply them to their own lives.

The film’s title refers to a 1985 song by Italy’s Franco Battiato’s, about the animal inside, which enslaves him to his passions, never gives up, and will never go away.

World premiering at Berlin, “L’Animale” also has a cross-section screening in Generation 14plus. It forms part of the first Panorama selection from Paz Lázaro, illustrating on of the section’s themes this year: “Resistance to machismo.”

“We immediately fell for the fresh take that Katharina Mückstein offers on the different crisis that one encounters all along life,” said Louis Balsan, head of sales & marketing at Films Boutique, “‘L’Animale’ draws a parallel between those emotionally charged pivot moments – teenage, midlife, and allows us to jump in the story through different doors, finally bridging the gap between the coming of age genre and arthouse audience.

More Film

  • International Film Festival and Awards Macao

    Macao Festival Signs Double Deals With Shanghai

    The International Film Festival & Awards Macao on Sunday signed twin agreements with institutions in Shanghai. The IFFAM, which is building towards its fourth edition in December, struck a collaboration agreement with the Shanghai International Film Festival. Separately, it is solidifying an existing informal arrangement with the Shanghai Film Art Academy concerning an exchange of [...]

  • wanda Movie Metropolis Qingdao

    Why Simon West Is Making Movies in China (EXCLUSIVE)

    British director Simon West (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Con Air,” “The Expendables 2”) is set to dive further into the Middle Kingdom at the helm of his second Chinese action-adventure blockbuster. The Wanda-backed “The Legend Hunters,” hits theaters next summer. West was brought onto the project by veteran producer Eryong, who had approached him about [...]

  • The Eight Hundred

    Chinese Research Group May Have Caused Cancellation of 'The Eight Hundred' Premiere

    Chinese authorities may have abruptly yanked the $80 million patriotic war epic “The Eight Hundred” the day before its opening-night premiere at the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival because it didn’t portray rivals of the ruling Communist Party in a sufficiently negative light, local reports said. Huayi Bros., which produced the film, had on Friday attributed [...]

  • Simon West

    Simon West Directing Chinese Tomb-Raid Movie 'Legend Hunters' (EXCLUSIVE)

    British director Simon West, who made the Angelina Jolie-starring “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” is now co-directing a Chinese tomb-raiding film. “The Legend Hunters” is the next installment in the “Mojin” universe, based on the popular fantasy novel series “Ghost Blows Out the Light.” Backed by Wanda Pictures and Beijing-based Saints Entertainment, the film is set [...]

  • Emu Runner

    Sydney Film Review: 'Emu Runner'

    Writer-director Imogen Thomas’ debut feature “Emu Runner” has and probably will play in designated family-themed strands of film festivals, and given its story of a 9-year-old Aboriginal girl who deals with grief in the wake of her mother’s death by bonding with a lone female representative of Australia’s largest native bird species, this programming strategy [...]

  • Sophia Antipolis

    Locarno in Los Angeles Film Review: 'Sophia Antipolis'

    There are two Sophias in French director Virgil Vernier’s clever, cunning, chilling fifth feature. The first is its setting, the eponymous “Sophia Antipolis,” a technology park in the south of France, a place self-consciously designed as an experiment in social engineering, where an international community of professionals would, it was hoped, create an environment of [...]

  • I Lost My Body

    Netflix Pickup ‘I Lost My Body,’ ‘Buñuel,’ ‘Away’ Top Annecy Festival

    ANNECY, France  — Fulfilling expectations, Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body, the subject of one of the highest-profile Netflix deals at this year’s Cannes, won this Saturday the Annecy Festival’s top Cristal Award of best feature plus, in a relatively rare Annecy double whammy, the festival’s Audience Award. The first was expected, the second a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content