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Filmed over three hot Viennese summers, director Ulrich Seidl's award-winning debut feature draws heavily on his documentary experience to give fictional events an unnervingly authentic, almost voyeuristic feel. Bleak humour underlies some of the improvised situations, most notably those involving compulsive hitch-hiker Maria Hofstatter and ageing widower Erich Finsches and his housekeeper, Gerti Lehner. As each vignette is played out before the remorseless camera, a scathing picture of contemporary Austria emerges, in which political, physical and cultural inertia has created a population enslaved to indolence and indulgence. Violence, despair and a sense of societal meltdown are never far away.
|Anna, the hitch-hiker||Maria Hofstätter|
|Hruby, the alarm systems man||Alfred Mrva|
|Walter, the old man||Erich Finsches|
|Walter's housekeeper||Gerti Lehner|
|Klaudia, the young girl||Franziska Weiss|
|Mario, Klaudia's boyfriend||Rene Wanko|
|The ex-wife||Claudia Martini|
|The ex-husband||Victor Rathbone|