Imagine what would happen if George Orwell (1984), Tinto Brass (The Howl), Guy Maddin (Archangel) and Jan Svankmajer (Lunacy) all sat down to dinner. Filmmaker Johannes Grenzfurthner gives us a pretty good idea, in his newest feature film, Die Gstettensaga: The Rise of Echsenfriedl.
The saga begins in the aftermath of the Google Wars, that mega-battle of the early 21st Century, when China and Google tensions escalate to such a degree that the universe as we know it changes forever. From its rubble, a new world is born—and it’s not the least bit pretty. Meanwhile, back at the sunny metropolis known as Mega City Schwechat, newspaper dyna-mogul Thurner von Pjölk hires unlikely duo Alalia Grundschober and Fratt Aigner for a mission implausible. Their job, should they choose to accept it, is to seek out and interview that live-broadcasting, basilisk of terror, Eschenfriedl— at his hideaway-lair in Gstetten—a place of no return. Whether Alalia (nerd-techie of all time) and Fratt (brown-nose, ambulance chasing, journalist-wannabe) survive and live to talk about it, is anyone’s guess.
Die Gstettensaga is a twisted futuristic trek back 1960s nostalgia, where activist farmers, crazed postal workers and a peg-legged Comtesse sing, cuss and basically eat each other alive. But can such avant-garde, cult-intellectualism hold its own in today’s crime/vampire-obsessed, cinematic world? GOD YES…and then some!
Grenzenfurthner’s outspoken, swiftly flying little flick is the must-see indie of 2014, as far as I’m concerned. Everyone, be they intellectuals, political-types, or simply those that love great blackly comic, sensual horror, will fall madly in love with Die Gstettensaga: The Rise of Echsenfriedl. See it, as soon as possible, and I promise you’ll never be bored at the movies again.
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