GUEST: RAINER FRIMMEL
Notes from the underworld
Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel, AUT 2020, 115 min, OmeU
“Has there ever been such a thing as an underworld in Vienna?“, is one of the first questions from off camera to Alois Schmutzer, the supposed “underworld king.“ Never,“ he answers. And yet Kurt Girk, Alois Schmutzer and his sister Heli have a lot to tell about Vienna in the war and post-war years. “It was a sad childhood,” says Girk, “but good people always lived in our street.” Schmutzer’s father, first imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp, was later found shot to death in the woods. The “Stoss” game, criminalized by the authorities, alleged involvement in petty crime and brawls see the butcher Schmutzer innocently sent to prison for ten years and Girk, a singer of Viennese songs, for eight. Schmutzer achieves notoriety as a result. Both are connected by a long friendship. A former guard tells of the punishment and prison system of the time. The b/w film, shot on 16mm, thus archives a piece of past Viennese milieu and pub history and at the same time tells of the repressive measures of the Austrian post-war period.