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DOG DAYS

Director: ULRICH SEIDL

AUSTRIA • 2001 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DIGITAL BETA • 120 MIN


The oppressive heat virtually emanates from the screen in Seidl’s first wholly fictional feature, which won a major prize at the 2001 Venice Film Festival and brought his work to a much wider audience. It still takes a strong stomach to watch this vision of suburban hell unfold. Over a couple of long, sweltering summer days, the film enters into the closed spaces of suburban Vienna to portray six sets of characters wallowing in misery, resentments and frustrated desire. Interspersed with nearly static shots of sunbathers which bring to mind the paintings of Francis Bacon, Dog Days features an ensemble cast of professional and non-professional actors who contribute compellingly visceral performances in Seidl’s bleak but brilliant chronicle of human desperation. In Austria, the film became something of a hot potato, regarded by many as a state-of-the-nation broadside. ‘A lot of people hated it,’ admits Seidl. ‘They said ‘that’s not us. That’s not Austria.’ But of course it is. It is Austria. It’s the whole world as well.’

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