Any city with artistic ambitions deserves its fair share of film festivals. And among such offerings in Vienna, the biggest and most prestigious is the Viennale, first held in 1960.
- One of Europe’s top film festivals
- Premieres, galas, prizes and stars (you know the deal)
- Programme spans genres and formats
- Opportunity to see many films not otherwise shown in Austria
- Most films either in English or with English subtitles
- 2020 dates: TBA (Oct 24 -Nov 6 in 2019)
- See also: English-language cinemas | Film festivals
A truly international festival
The Viennale ticks all the right boxes on the film festival checklist.
A chance to see (pre-release) films from around the world? Yep.
A sprinkling of national (and, sometimes, international) premieres? Yep.
A smorgasbord of genres, styles and formats? Yep.
Special themes? Yep. (The retrospectives shown at the Austrian Film Museum deserve a special mention.)
A complementary programme of events? Yep.
Guest stars? Yep (dozens of them).
The Viennale doesn’t quite reach Cannes levels of star power (who does?), but you can expect various masters and mistresses of their trade from the film business. In 2018, for example, the Oscar- and BAFTA award-winning Tilda Swinton attended.
And there are awards, too, not least the Vienna Film Prize (with a special jury prize) and the Fipresci Prize (awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics).
Since the 2019 Viennale only just ended, its a little early for highlights of the next one. So here’s a look back at the previous event, which attracted well over 90,000 visitors and featured 180 guest directors and actors:
- The retrospective, in cooperation with the Austrian Film Museum, featured some 50 movies and was titled, O Partigiano! Pan-European Partisan Film. The theme of resistance, particularly in the context of fascist and other totalitarian ideologies, seemed rather pertinent to our times
- Featured directors (all of whom were slated to attend the Viennale) were:
- Angela Schandeckel, winner of a Silver Bear (Best Director) at the 2019 Berlinale
- Pierre Creton, whose movies often draw on his own experience as a farmer
- Ala Eddine Slim, whose work covers various themes and genres as he explores “cinema at the margins”
- Sílvia das Fadas, the experimental filmmaker who works in 16mm
- The Cinematographies (themed tracks):
- Brazil Burning! looked at contemporary Brazilian cinema and its reflection of the sociopolitical turmoil in that country
- The Female Gaze showcased the work of the pioneering female director from Austria, Louise Kolm-Fleck (1873– 1950), one of the earliest filmmakers to tackle the female perspective
- Peter Brook, including a new director’s cut of his film, Meetings with Remarkable Men
- Cecilia Mangini, with selected films of this Italian director featuring English subtitles for the first time
And, of course, the broader Viennale programme brought an eclectic mix of films and filmmakers to Vienna, including selected festival winners.
When available, the official website obviously has the full programme.
2020 dates and tickets
The Viennale normally runs from late October to early November. I’ll post exact dates when I get them. Buy tickets for showings etc. at the Viennale website, which also has information on alternative ticket sources (such as participating cinemas).
How to get to the Viennale cinemas
Note these were the cinemas participating in the 2019 event…
Nearest subway stations are Stubentor (on the U3) and Stadtpark (on the U4). The Weihburggasse stop for tram line 2 is practically outside the cinema.
Address: Parkring 12, 1010 Vienna
Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus
The nearest subway station is Karlsplatz on the U1, U2 and U4 lines. Trams 1, 2, 71, 62 and D also drop you very close to the cinema at the Karlsplatz/Oper stop.
Akademiestraße 13, 1010 Vienna
Take the U1 or U4 subway to Schwedenplatz. The cinema’s local tram stop is Julius-Raab-Platz, fed by trams 1 and 2.
Address: Uraniastraße 1, 1010 Vienna
Austrian Film Museum
A quick walk from either Karlsplatz (U1, U2, U4) or Stephansplatz (U1 and U3). The Albertinaplatz bus stop is outside, used by the 2A bus route.
Address: Augustinerstraße 1, 1010 Vienna
Sandwiched between Karlsplatz and Stephansplatz stations, as with the Austrian Film Museum.
Address: Johannesgasse 4, 1010 Vienna