DIE GSTETTENSAGA: THE RISE OF ECHSENFRIEDL Image

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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