You Only Die Twice
Der israelische Filmemacher Yair Lev erfährt im Zuge einer Erbschaftsregelung, dass sein Großvater zweimal gestorben ist. Einmal in Israel und rund 18 Jahre später nochmals in Innsbruck. Zumindest laut offiziellen Sterbeurkunden. Doch wer ist dieser österreichische "Großvater", der nach Ende des 2. Weltkriegs die Identität seines Großvaters angenommen hat? Wer in der Familie wusste davon und mit welchem Zweck? Eine Spurensuche beginnt, die den Regisseur tief in die eigene Familiengeschichte und die Geschichte der Juden in Österreich eintauchen lässt. Wie sich bei einer detektivischen Spurensuche in zahlreichen Archiven bald herausstellte, hatte dieser zweite "Ernst Beschinsky" ein Leben mit Ilse Focke aus Tirol geführt. Eine Frau, deren ganze Familie aktive Mitglieder der NSDAP waren. Jedoch noch viel ungewöhnlicher ist der Umstand, dass jener "Ernst Beschinsky" auch der Präsident der Jüdischen Gemeinde in Tirol war. Mit jeder neuen Spur, die Regisseur Yair Lev verfolgt, wird die Arbeit an seinem Film zu einer immer bewegteren Reise in die dunkle Vergangenheit Europas, voller Enthüllungen und Überraschungen. In Innsbruck etwa trifft er auf Andreas Focke, den Enkel von Erich Focke, Ilse Beschinskys Vater, der bei der SS war. Bei ihrem hochemotionalen Treffen übergibt er diesem die Informationen über die Taten seines Großvaters während der Nazizeit. Nun gibt es ja zwei Familien, wie es auch zwei "Ernst Beschinskys" gibt, die auf der jeweils anderen Seite dieser Katastrophe diesen Namen in Verbindung mit ihrer Familiengeschichte bringen. Es bedurfte jahrelanger akribischer Recherchen, bis Filmemacher Lev endlich Klarheit in diese verstrickte Geschichte brachte. Dabei entstand ein Dokumentarfilm, dem es eindrucksvoll gelingt, den menschlichen Dschungel nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg bis ins Detail zu durchdringen. Jene Zeit, in der viele Menschen ihre Identitäten neu erfinden mussten, während andere versuchten, ihre Vergangenheit für immer auszulöschen.
Maria Theresa - Legacy of an Empress
Long before women's emancipation was conceivable, Maria Theresia was the first woman to change the history of the Habsburg Empire: her era was the monarchy's golden age. Austria had never been as modern, glorious or prestigious as it was during her reign. One visible sign of this confidence was Schönbrunn castle, which mirrored her majesty. This year, for the 300th anniversary of her birth, director Georg Riha reveals his perspective on the Austrian icon. He dives right into the regent's late baroque period to tell her extraordinary story through fantastic imagery.
In the Shadow of the Red October -Shostakowich, Prokofiev und Rachmaninoff
2017 was the 100th anniversary of the October revolution in Russia. The takeover by the Communist Bolsheviks changed the world for ever and with it the lives of millions of people. This is also reflected in the lives and work of three great Russian composers of the 20th century: Dmitri Shostakovich, who never escaped the control of the Soviet state, returnee Sergei Prokofiev, who claimed to have recognised too late the challenges of the changed situation, and Sergei Rachmaninoff, who took the opportunity of a concert tour to Sweden to flee Russia and never saw his homeland again. The lives and work of all three are all closely interwoven with the history of their country, but in different ways.
Gandhi: Fighting Without Weapons
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as "Mahatma," was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic 70 years ago, on 30th January 1948. Today, Gandhi is considered the embodiment of non violent resistance. His great words have also taken hold in the Western World: "Ahimsa"- non violence, "Satygraha" - insistence on truth, "Swaraj" - self governance. Gandhi was and remained a Hindu, but engaged intensively with other religions. He took the Baghavad Gita and the Sermon on the Mount as the spiritual basis for his political actions. His concept of renunciation of violence and loving one's enemies therefore also had a strong influence on Christians, for instance the American Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King.
Images of Women - Juxtapositions: The Artists of the Wiener Moderne
The years between 1890 and 1918 were one of the highlights in the history of Austria. The «Wiener Moderne», or Viennese Modern Age, was characterised by huge innovation in art, literature, architecture, music, psychology, philosophy and society.
But it is only men who are known as the pioneers of this movement. The three outstanding and internationally renowned painters of the Wiener Moderne are Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. And yet this era also saw appreciable advances in women's emancipation. Many female artists were part of the dawning of the modern age, managing to assert themselves in the art world despite the hostile environment. An above average proportion of these female artists came from assimilated Jewish families. Some of them took their place in art history, but many others have - unjustly - been consigned to oblivion.
Inventors Under the Swastika
National Socialist times saw a succession of flamboyant and talented inventors and pioneers, who on the one hand took advantage of the opportunities under the Nazis, and on the other hand were exploited by the Nazis for their own purposes. Gunther Burstyn (inventor of a forerunner of the tank), Ernst Heinkel (aeronautical pioneer), Viktor Schauberger (inventor of the «Repulsine» flying saucer) and Felix Wankel (inventor of the Wankel engine) all have one thing in common: although none of them had a university education, their names are inextricably linked with innovation and technical progress, even today. Mostly before and during the First World War, they began to explore new ideas and technologies for tanks, engines and aeronautics that were far ahead of their time.
The Fall of the Habsburgs
The Habsburg Dynasty had ruled large parts of Europe and the world for 650 years. During World War I, however, the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire sowed the seeds of its own demise. When Charles I inherited Franz Joseph's throne in November 1916, he embarked on a single-handed mission to make peace. He offered France control of Alsace-Lorraine - a betrayal of his greatest ally and brother-in-arms, Germany. The so-called "Sixtus Affair" destroyed the last chance for peace in Europe - and sealed the fate of the Habsburg dynasty and the Austro-Hungarian Empire itself. Charles I would go down in history as the last emperor of Europe.
Atatürk - The Father of Modern Turkey
The documentary Atatürk - The Father of Modern Turkey attempts to come to terms with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as both a larger-than-life personality and a phenomenon of the zeitgeist at the turn of the last century. Atatürk's revolution reflected the tensions between tradition, affairs of state and religion prevalent at the time. He was a man driven by the ideals he was prepared to implement at any cost, and his reforms completely changed the face of Turkey.
Was the «Father of the Turks» a European at heart? He was inspired by the idea of nationalism, the implementation of fundamental rights and the separation of state and religion. His countless private notes, diaries, and the handwritten comments he added to his books offer us a behind-the-scenes look at the most powerful man at the dawn of the Turkish Republic, as well as insights into his personality. November 10, 2018, will mark the 80th anniversary of the death of Atatürk, undoubtedly one of the most fascinating figures of his time. He was a brilliant military strategist and political operator, the founder of modern Turkey, a ladies' man, and an educator of the people. In addition, he was a revolutionary profoundly influenced by Western ideas. His private library contained the most significant works of the European Enlightenment Without his «War of Independence» there would be no modern Turkey. This has earned him lasting fame and admiration among many Turkish people to this day.The film is a portrait of Atatürk and his intellectual development in an era that looked ahead to the welfare of the European nation-state and its secularism, rather than backward to the Ottoman Empire. This was an outlook that, due to either unfulfilled expectations or the waning of Europe as a desirable model, faded for those who came after Atatürk.
Thirty Years of War
The last great religious armed conflict in Europe, the Thirty Years' War, began 400 years ago, in 1618. Ostensibly a battle between Catholics and Protestants, the war was in fact the result of a complex mixture of competing interests and a thirst for power and territory which involved the entire continent, but which caused particular destruction in Germany. Today's conflicts in the Middle East remind many of the Thirty Years' War, as they involve weakened state structures, ruthless warlords and foreign players who encourage division among religious denominations. Is the Islamic world currently experiencing a wide-ranging conflict similar to that which tore Europe apart four centuries ago?
The docu-drama Thirty Years of War focuses on the individual fates of five different characters from all walks of life: people who lived and suffered through the conflict, people who waged war or financed it. From the banker to the mercenary, all these people actually existed. The film documents their lives in detail, based on their own journals and other historical sources, and brings their experiences to life in powerful, moving narrative scenes.
The Jesuit Jeremias Drexel serves as court preacher to Maximilian I of Bavaria. He is a Catholic hardliner who believes the war serves a sacred purpose.
Hans de Witte, a merchant from Prague, finances the imperial campaigns. His world is centred around the stock exchanges of Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam. He intentionally encourages an increase in inflation and eventually uses an intricate credit system to support the rise of General Albrecht von Wallenstein. Incredibly, de Witte is actually a Calvinist - a member of a denomination persecuted by the emperor throughout the empire.
The farmer Marta Küzinger lives in a village in Upper Austria. Like most of the region's other farmers, she is a Protestant. When she is twenty years old her farm is destroyed by passing troops. Soon after, violence flares when efforts are made to convert the country to Catholicism by force. Her husband is killed in a farmers' rebellion, but she refuses to give in to her anguish. She passes on her faith in secret, thereby contributing to the continued existence of Protestants in Austria to this day.
In 1627, Peter Hagendorf becomes a mercenary in the forces of Field Marshal Pappenheim. He is one of the few to survive the entire war. Largely uninterested in the ideological motivations driving the conflict, Hagendorf fights for the spoils of war, his pay and survival. He travels more than 22,500 kilometres in the course of the war, occasionally accompanied by his wife and children. When peace is declared in 1648, he is at a loss - he has never known anything but fighting.
In 1632, the Augustinian nun Klara Staiger is unexpectedly named the prioress of the Mariastein monastery in Bavaria's Eichstätt. From this point on she is responsible for ensuring the survival of her small sisterhood, a task made more difficult by the alternating attacks by the Swedish and imperial troops who loot and pillage the monastery. It takes Klara, a strong and wise woman, years to rebuild her destroyed abbey.
An innovative narrative approach will serve to bring the historical events closer to the viewer: similar to modern-day news reporting, an off-camera journalist will ask the individual characters questions and they will talk openly to camera about their hopes, fears and convictions. In Austria, the renowned actor Adele Neuhauser is in negotiations to assume this role. This narrative device allows for each country to define their own "reporter": it could be a nationally respected journalist, an actor or other important, trusted figure.
As the film travels back in time to the 17th century, it will also journey through the modern-day regions of Germany and Austria that were battlefields during the war. This establishes a fascinating visual contrast between the past and the present. In addition, renowned experts will analyse the events of the Thirty Years' War: so far, the political scientist Herfried Münkler and the historians Christoph Kampmann and Georg Schmidt have confirmed their participation. The experts will also help to place the 400-year-old war in a modern context: can the Thirty Years' War, this tangle of warring states, rebellions and religious conflicts, be compared to the situation in the Middle East of the present day? Is the Islamic world currently experiencing a similar disaster to that suffered in Europe centuries ago? This is a divisive issue: while some experts warn against drawing easy comparisons, others look to the Peace of Westphalia for diplomatic solutions that may be applied to secure peace in the Middle East.
Ski Arlberg - The Cradle of Skiing
Eines der fünf größten Skigebiete der Welt, mehr als 300 Skiabfahrtskilometer, 88 Aufstiegshilfen und nicht zuletzt die »Wiege des alpinen Skilaufs«. Der Arlberg hat mit vielen Superlativen aufzuwarten - und wer könnte einem die Faszination des »Weißen Sports« besser näher bringen, als die zweifache Weltmeisterin im Freeriden, Nadine Wallner und der ins Skifahren vernarrte Schauspieler Tobias Moretti. Er, der bekennende Tiroler und sie, die unüberhörbare Vorarlbergerin führen uns unter der Regie des UNIVERSUM-Regisseurs Heinz Leger, entlang des »Run of Fame«, einer Skirunde die den Pionieren und Legenden des Skisports gedenkt, über den tief verschneiten Arlberg. Tobias Moretti startet auf Vorarlberger Seite, wo im Winter 1894/95 alles begonnen hat, als sich der Pfarrer von Warth, Johann Müller, ein Paar dieser sagenumwobenen schwedischen Bretter schicken ließ. Nadine Wallner beginnt ihre Reise im Tirolerischen bei den Freestylern des Skiclub Arlberg. Der Film ist eine Tour d'Horizon durch die Geschichte des alpinen Skilaufs am Arlberg. Der Bau der Arlbergbahn hatte das Gebiet, das bis dahin ausschließlich von Viehzucht und Milchwirtschaft gelebt hatte für den Tourismus erschlossen und schon bald kamen nicht nur Sommerfrischler, sondern auch die ersten Skifahrer in die Berge. In St. Anton entstand die erste Skischule der Region, geführt von Hannes Schneider, dem Erfinder der legendären Arlberg-Technik, der in den kommenden Jahrzehnten in den Augen vieler zum »Ski Gott« werden sollte. Der Arlberg kann aber auch mit einem »Ski Papst« aufwarten: Prof. Stefan Kruckenhauser revolutionierte die staatliche Skilehrerausbildung und gemeinsam trugen sie die Art Ski zu fahren und vor allem Skifahren zu unterrichten in die Welt hinaus. So waren zum Beispiel nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg die meisten Skischulen in den USA unter österreichischer Führung und auch in Südamerika, Australien und selbst Neuseeland lehrte man die Arlberg Technik. Am Arlberg selbst lernte die halbe Welt Skifahren, wie es in einem zeitgenössischen Wochenschaubeitrag heißt, gekrönte Häupter zogen hier ebenso ihre ersten Schwünge in den Schnee wie unzählige Stars und Sternchen. In den dreißiger Jahren des vergangenen Jahrhunderts hatte der hier gedrehte Film »Der Weiße Rausch« die Faszination des Skifahrens in die Welt hinaus getragen, später entstanden auf und abseits der Pisten Spielfilme mit Toni Sailer, Peter Alexander und vielen anderen Stars der Nachkriegsjahre. Höhepunkt war zweifellos die Hollywood-Produktion »Bridget Jones« mit Renée Zellweger. Neben dem mondänen gibt es natürlich auch den sportlichen Arlberg. Der Skiclub Arlberg hat nicht weniger als fünf Olympiasieger und zwei Gesamtweltcupsieger im alpinen Skilauf hervorgebracht, von den unzähligen Weltmeistern gar nicht zu reden. »Der Arlberg - Wiege des alpinen Skilaufs« ist eine kurzweile Reise durch die mehr als hundertjährige Geschichte des Weißen Sports in einer der schönsten Landschaften der Welt.
Otto Wagner - Vienna's Visionary of Modern Architecture
This film focuses on the architect, urban planner and designer Otto Wagner's amazing world and builds a bridge between his early Historicist works and his Jugendstil masterpieces. The goal is to paint a truthful picture of the artist's life and work until he became the modernist architect we all know and love.
Close to Heaven
This true story conveys the hopes and dispair of an artillery soldier and a war photographer on the front line of the First World War.
Conquest of the South - Myth of the Prestigious Southern Train
The first holiday goers were rich. Very rich. And they chose to take the prestigious southern train to luxurious weekends by the Adriatic Sea. Even the Emperor's family used to take it. Its renovation is under way to bring it back to its former glory.
Waterways of Northern Italy
Northern Italy's rivers carry both goods and memories. Its picturesque landscape still bears marks of its History as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the entire lagoon-city which is Venice is a constant physical reminder of what these rivers are capable of.
Royal Icons - Field Marshall Radetzky
Field Marshall Radetzky was the hero the declining empire needed. He inspired Emperor Franz Joseph and the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire to the point where the Radetzkymarsch still resonates across the world on New Year's Day. But his life wasn't that simple, and not as luxurious as one might think.
Treasure Hunt - Searching for Fenn's Legacy
Forrest Fenn is very, very rich. But when he found out he had cancer, he decided to spark the sense of adventure in people across the world. He stuffed a chest with many valuable treasures and buried it in the Rocky Mountains. He gave away nine clues in a poem he published and five more in interviews, but the chest is yet to be found. If it's still out there, why wouldn't two Austrian kids stand a chance?
The Habsburg Emperors' Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea became the upper class' most prestigious summer destination of the 19th century. These rich and powerful holiday seekers took the southern train to places such as Opatija, Lovran, Losinj, Rijeka, and Portoroz which, until then, were still largely unknown, almost as fast as it does today. In this new production, we track down the imperial charm and lifestyle of the time. The spirit of this glossy era, during which summer tourism was invented, lives on in many historical hotels and cafes.
Royal Gardens of the Habsburg Family
The Habsburg-Lothringen family was, for centuries, one of the most powerful dynasties in the world; their empire was once so big, it was said that the sun never set on it. Their rule and their impact on the world still echo through architectural masterpieces and countless gardens and parks. This documentary brings this famous family's «green fingers», their glorious gardens, gigantic parks and astonishing plant collections back into the spotlight, whilst reminding us that gardens are mirrors of their time.
Mit der neunteiligen Reihe »Unser Österreich« dokumentiert »Universum History« erstmals die Geschichte der Bundesländer. Anhand von neun Familien werden historische Wendepunkte, persönliche Schlüsselerlebnisse und die Auseinandersetzung mit Tradition und Veränderung thematisiert.
Mysteries of St. Stephans Cathedral
We think we know "our Steffl" from the top of the tower to the bottom of the catacombs. Yet this documentary by the multiple prize winning director, Günther Schildhan, proves there is still loads to learn about this Viennese landmark. A digital simulation shows how the cathedral would have looked like with its intended north tower and we will proceed to explain why the tower ended up on the south side. This south tower holds a bizarre secret. There is an exciting theory about the figure of Master Pilgram: has the architect really carved his own figure six times in the cathedral's walls? But even the patron saint, Stephen, remains a riddle. The Italian town of Caorle also claims to hold the real relic of Saint Stephen.
Castles and Palaces
Hochosterwitz Castle, Landskron Castle and the Kraig Castles are just some examples from the long list of imposing castles and aristocratic stately homes in Austria's southernmost state. The Middle Ages are particularly visible in Friesach: there aren't just three very diff erent castles all within sight of each other here. The town is also indulging in a 'new' castle that has been under construction since 2009, using exclusively medieval construction techniques. The project is more than just a laboratory for 'experimental history'; it has also become a tourist magnet. The construction of Siegfriedstein Castle is used by the fi lm's director Gernot Stadler, as a starting point for a journey through Carinthia's castle landscape and a nostalgic trip into the past - everyday castle life complete with medieval cooking.
France - The Fear of Marine Le Pen
The rise of the president of the right wing party 'National Front' hit headline news worldwide. What are Marine Le Pen's political goals and how is she going to achieve them? This documentary shows Marine Le Pen throughout her election campaign, talking to political opponents, including her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who she excluded from the party.
Helmut Lang, one of the most creative and imaginative fashion designers of the 1990s, is known for his minimalism and androgynous looks in this creations. His fashion had big impact on the role model of women and men.
Hitler and the Children of Obersalzberg
The Obersalzberg retreat was the summer residence and retreat of Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun and his closest confidants in the Nazi regime. The public are mainly familiar with fi lm footage and photographs from the alleged Nazi idyll. For the first time, eye witnesses are willing to talk about their experiences in Obersalzberg.
Maria Theresa - Europe's Mother-in-Law
No-one played the game of diplomacy better than Austria's Empress Maria Theresa. She made peace between the Habsburg Empire and its oldest enemies, the Bourbons, rulers of France, Spain and the kingdoms of Parma and Naples. To gain an ally against the Prussian upstarts to the north, this deeply Catholic mother of 16 was even prepared to deal with the woman whose morals she most despised: Madame Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV. Their unlikely alliance helped usher in a new era in European politics, poised between absolutism and Enlightenment. Maria Theresa's most powerful strategic tool was a weapon that had always come in handy in the Habsburg arsenal: «Tu felix Austria, nube». «Others make war, but you, happy Austria, marry!» As a result, six of her children were married into the House of Bourbon. Maria Theresa knew these marriages would largely be unhappy. When her youngest daughter Marie-Antoinette wed King Louis XVI of France in 1770, all her political goals were won, but at a high personal price. Only Maria Theresa's death in 1780 spared her from experiencing Marie-Antoinette's tragic end, executed by guillotine. The biography of Maria Theresa and of the Habsburg family, is the story of the clash between private life and political power-play, between dynastic responsibility and motherly love. The blue chip drama-documentary »Maria Theresa - Europe's Mother-in-Law« marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of the most famous member of the Habsburg dynasty, and reveals a previously unseen side of the regent based on recently-discovered personal letters of the Empress to Countess Enzenberg, her lady-in-waiting.
Maria Stromberger - A Nurse in Auschwitz
Maria Stromberger, who was born in 1898 in Metnitz, lived in Vorarlberg before she voluntarily reported to Auschwitz to serve as a nurse in the SS infirmary. Maria Stromberger took up her duties in Auschwitz on 1st October 1942. She was received with the words, «Sister, you have difficult service ahead of you.» She became the Angel of Auschwitz, a nurse who voluntarily reported for work in the SS hospital. She would carry out the mission she had undertaken and only narrowly escape the henchmen of the Gestapo, as Stromberger smuggled pamphlets out of the camp and attempted to save people.
An Outdoor Parlour - Traveling like in Imperial Times
From the days of the Habsburg monarchy, the Adriatic coast, the Salzkammergut, Lakes Garda and Worthersee, and the Dolomites were the most exclusive destinations for upper classes and nobility. People travelled to the countryside with all the amenities of the city, and combined the benefits of well-tended natural surroundings and urban conviviality as if they were attending an outdoor parlour. Writers, actors and composers were inspired by the orchestrated natural idyll. To date, these former summer resorts are characterised by nostalgia for the supposed «good old days» of imperial Austria.
The Last Emperor - Franz Joseph I. between Power and Powerlessness
Franz Joseph's rule lasted 68 years, making him the longest reigning Habsburg monarch. Not long after the passing of Emperor Franz Joseph on 21st November 1916, the dynasty, which had endured for centuries, collapsed. He became the symbol of the Habsburg Monarchy, a multi-ethnic state with all of its potential and problems. One of the greatest challenges for the dual monarchy was to unite the 11 nationalities and even more ethnic groups. This documentary off ers a glimpse of the person behind the political fi gure, showing a man caught between power and powerlessness.
The Queen of Vienna - Anna Sacher and her Hotel
The legendary Sacher Hotel in Vienna has been the realm of the social elites for almost 150 years. Since it first opened in 1876, the hotel has represented cosmopolitan openness, the ultimate in culinary artistry, the very finest patisserie and courtly ritual with a clear division of roles. To the present day the hotel is attuned to the heartbeat of one woman: Anna Sacher. She blended a highly attractive mix of the private and public spheres that the elites of European society could not eschew. They held court in the rooms, suites, restaurants, cafés and bars of the hotel. The Sacher Hotel became the much-frequented parlour of artists such as Gustav Klimt, Arthur Schnitzler and Richard Strauss. The Sacher was where those members of society met who at breathtaking speed created everything that makes up our current reality: consumer culture and tourism, the emancipation of women and the breaking of sexual rules, modern marketing, the tabloid press, new technologies and the globalisation of the markets.
Mysteries of the Stone Age
They seem to have come from another world: circles and buildings made of gigantic stones. The most famous are Stonehenge in Britain and Carnac in France. But these megaliths from the Stone Age - 5,000 years BCE - are found all round the world, as recent discoveries show. There appears to be a network of sites from the north of Scotland to the Mediterranean (Malta alone has around 30 temples) to the Far East - with gigantic graves in Korea. It's still not clear how ancient civilizations managed to create these fantastic stone structures. How did they lift the huge blocks into place? And what can we learn about those societies? What were the turning points in their history? Was there a secret connection between the cultures that built the megalith circles? New studies and the latest international research reveal fresh clues to the biggest mysteries of the Stone Age.
The Prince and the Chief: Travels in the Interiors of North America
He has been a hero for generations of readers: Winnetou, the noble Apache, created by author Karl May in the late 19th Century. Millions of readers and viewers have been riveted by his adventures, and his friendship with the frontiersman Old Shatterhand. Behind the fiction lies a true story. In April 1833, scientist Maximilian von Wied, a German prince, and Swiss painter Karl Bodmer travelled up the Missouri by steamboat. They planned to observe and record the indigenous peoples and the epic landscape of the American West. During the trip, Von Wied befriended Mato Tope ('Four Bears') the deputy chief of the Mandan Tribe. Thanks to this relationship it became possible for Von Wied and Karl Bodmer to see the world of the indigenous peoples through different eyes. This documentary as well as the writings of Karl May are based on both accounts and memories of Prince Maximilian and Karl Bodmer.
The Great Wall
The Great Wall played a significant role in both the rise and fall of empires and dynasties. It determined the volatile history of China - and the entire world. Over the course of centuries of warfare, ever more walls were established to protect against attacks from nomadic northern tribes. These tribes eventually turned their attentions to the west, altering the history of Europe: the Huns broke the hegemony of the Western Roman Empire, launching the Migration Period in the 4th and 5th century AD. In the west of the Chinese empire, the signal towers of the Great Wall marked the course of the Silk Road for convoys from Asia Minor and Europe to the ancient imperial capital Chang'an (now known as Xi'an).How did the Great Wall develop to become the wonder it is today? The documentary series presents some incredible discoveries: for example, the construction of large parts of the Great Wall was a result of repeated changes in climate. The longest sections were built during periods when average temperatures were between 1.5 and 4 degrees Celsius colder than today. The first of these periods occurred approximately 200 years B.C., while the second arrived in the early Middle Ages. When temperatures dropped, nomads from the north would descend on the south in an attempt to ensure their survival in the highlands and plains of central China. The Great Wall was predominantly constructed to repel the "climate refugees" who could no longer survive in the Eurasian steppe.However, there were also other motives: fear, leadership aspirations and economic considerations were primary motivations for emperors, leaders and generals, as was the ambition to conquer nature, master technical challenges and set new architectural standards.The Great Wall is the world's largest structure, and is among the most famous, and yet we still know very little about it: researchers have only just begun to establish how engineers succeeded in embedding this masterpiece in the landscape, what cartographical feats were necessary, and what has ensured the majestic wall's continued existence. Curious details emerge in the course of this research: for example, the Ming masons mixed a staple foodstuff used by billions of people into the mortar between the bricks...The three-part documentary, which includes high-quality re-enactments, follows the course of the Great Wall as it winds through the Chinese landscape for thousands of kilometres. The breathtaking extent of the wall is both symbolic and reflective of 3000 years of Chinese history. It is a structure that changed the world
Harnoncourt - The Music of my Life
This musical biography covers life from childhood to the present and at the same time showing his musical history based on previously unseen photos and personal details from the family archive, concert clips, sample work and personal comments of the star conductor.
Life in the Shadow of the Mafia
The time of the great godfathers is over; today the Mafia is more discreet, efficient, and professional than in the days of Mario Puzo (1920-1999, author of The Godfather). The conspirative organization covers Italian society like a net. The more profitable a business activity, the more likely it is to be involved. This documentary shines a light on the 'Ndrangheta, the most powerful, dangerous, and mysterious Italian Mafia organization. Its estimated annual revenue: 53 billion euros. At that, the director made a scoop: She won over a so-called «pentita», a principal witness for an exclusive interview. This witness breaks the ironclad commandment of «omerta», the Mafia code of silence.
650 Years University of Vienna
Die 650 Jahre lange Geschichte der Universität Wien spiegelt gleichzeitig eine Gesellschaftsgeschichte der Bildung, der stetigen Demokratisierung von Wissen wider. Ihre Geschichte verknüpft sich auch mit dem jahrhundertelangen Kampf um die Freiheit von Forschung und Lehre. Gleichzeitig wird die Frage gestellt: Was ist Wissenschaft überhaupt? Wie definiert sich ihre Relevanz, ihr gesellschaftlicher Mehrwert, aber auch ihre moralische Verantwortung?
Luis Trenker - Hitler's Mountain Hero
Luis Trenker is a legend. Best known internationally for his mountain films with then actress Leni Riefenstahl ("The White Hell of Piz Pallü"), he had a controversial movie career under the Nazis and was championed by Italian Fascists, before being reborn after the War telling stories of his life on German television. This documentary shows the highs and lows of a long life, the delicate balance between Hitler and Mussolini, adaptation and resistance, box office success and cinematic art. Was he a Nazi collaborator or opposed to the Regime? Or simply an amoral survivor who never ceased moulding his own image?
Southern Carinthia: For many decades, Slovenes and German-speaking Carinthians have been living here side by side. Ditches or "grape" -- that's what they call the side valleys in Southern Carinthia. And ditches divide the inhabitants like trenches to this day, sometimes even within families. The Slovenian peasants lived in the ditches, while the Germans were tradespersons and factory owners in the main valley. During and after the war, the coexistence turned into enmity. After the war, the hostility between the two ethnic groups petrified. Distrust, defiance, and ignorance conceal deep wounds on both sides. The guerrilla war of the Slovenes was the only armed resistance against the Nazi regime in Austria. Now, in "The Ditch," the cultural associations of both groups are working together for the first time to overcome the last 100 years. With the method of "participatory reenactments," contemporary witnesses' stories are filmed with original props at the actual locations. In the microcosm of the Vellach Valley, where perpetrators and victims were and are neighbors, and these roles often even reversed, history comes alive.
"She's a Russian whore" is how they often badmouthed women who had relationships or children with Soviet soldiers during the postwar occupation. That is why many concealed the identity of their sons' or daughters' father; others cleared their conscience only shortly before death. Some children thought their father had died in the war. For the first time, we will hear the life and fate of children who were fathered by members of the Wehrmacht in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. And the children illicitly conceived with prisoners of war also gain the opportunity to speak in the documentary.
On the Rails of the Double Headed Eagle -- The Way West
In the new part of the documentary series we take the way west. The Arlberg Railway, opened in 1884, enabled smooth passenger and goods traffic to Vorarlberg. The Western Railway, originally called the "Imperial-Royal Privileged Empress Elisabeth Railway", runs from Vienna to Munich. Since 1863, the "Brenner Railway" has lead over the Brenner Pass to Lake Garda. The film delves deep into the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the early days of European railways.
Salzburg - Vatican of the Alps
"Here comes the semi-pope, who can make bishops." Allegedly, these are the words Pope Pius IX used to welcome the Archbishop of Salzburg to the Vatican as late as 1869.
For many centuries, Salzburg and the Archbishop occupied a unique special position. Unlike all the other bishops, the Archbishop even today wears scarlet, like a cardinal. Until the 20th century, he was elected by the cathedral chapter, completely independent of the Pope. Like a Pope, he could even appoint bishops. Until 1806, he ruled the second-largest church state in the world - second only to Rome.
But Salzburg is also called the «Rome of the North» because of its buildings, architecture constituting a nearly flawless Baroque ensemble.
The documentary «Salzburg - Vatican of the Alps» explores the history of this dominion, which produced exceptional art and where grand religious theatre was played along with grand human tragedy.
The documentary takes viewers back to a time when the Archbishopric, City and State of Salzburg were a political, religious and artistic centre of European importance.
Full Steam Ahead to the Austro-Hungarian Riviera
Even towards the end of the 19th century, aristocrats and the prosperous upper middle class traveled to the Austrian Riviera to spend their vacations in the fashionable seaside resorts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In luxury train compartments, the posh travelers flooded to the sea and enjoyed themselves in the idyllic seaside resorts. The Quarnaro, or Kvarner, as the Croats call their Adriatic coast today, was synonymous with the term "Austrian Riviera." Particularly Abbazia (today Opatija) vouched for exclusivity and elegance. Whoever could afford it at all went to the Adriatic Sea once a year. With the progress of railroad construction, particularly Abbazia experienced an unprecedented construction and tourism boom, quickly morphing into one of the most attractive seaside resorts of Europe in the mid-19th century. Full Steam Ahead to the Austro-Hungarian Riviera tells of the journey of the affluent society to the Austrian Riviera in the 19th century.
Galicia - In Search of Ukraine's Identity
This documentary sets out to explore Galicia, a tract of land that, after a century of eventful history, is today once again faced with immense stresses and strains. Nowadays people look back fondly on the time when each ethnic group lived together in peace. In the Ukraine the book is the embodiment of the national culture and national conscience, and has a long tradition. In Ukrainian society, writers play a major role as commentators and intermediaries. This contradictory land that has such a rich culture is explored both literarily and sociologically through their works and thoughts.
The Nero Files - Uncovering an Ancient Conspiracy
He's the most notorious of all Roman emperors. He burned Rome, he engaged in incest, and killed his mother, his wife and thousands of Christians. He was a psycho. But suppose it was all lies? What if the 'crimes' he committed never happened, or were normal behaviour for a Roman emperor? Suppose his enemies decided to trash his reputation, and succeeded for two thousand years? Was Nero really a hero, who took from the rich and gave to the poor? Historians, psychologists, criminologists and toxicologists are brought in as this documentary reopens a cold case. Together they reveal a complex web of lies, deflections and intrigues. Flashbacks and re-enactments encourage the viewer to explore theories that are suddenly undermined by unexpected twists. The result: a reassessment of Roman history. It's time to re-examine the Nero Files.
Inside Vienna Ringstrasse- A private view behind the Facades
On the occasion of the 150 years anniversary of the Viennese «Ringstrasse»,citizens of the beautiful Austrian city, talk about their lives and jobs that created a special bond to Vienna's most magnificent boulevards. Their entertaining and fascinating stories lead through the impressive architecture and the spectacular buildings constructed along one of the most beautiful boulevards in the world.
Genie im Windschatten- Ignaz Joseph Pleyel 1757-1831
Genius in the Slipstream traces the life of Ignaz Joseph Pleyel. The documentary shows the very successful and at times quite adventurous life of Ignaz Joseph Pleyel. The contemporary of Mozart and Haydn was a popular, frequently performed composer in his day. He not only became a major piano builder and music publisher in Paris, but may also have been involved in composing one of the most famous melodies in music history.
Short Version: 45 min.
BEAT ME, I WON'T TELL YOU ANYTHING - KÄTHE SASSO, RESISTANCE FIGHTER
Käthe Sasso is one of the last survivors from the period of Austrian resistance against the Nazis. She survived agonising years in Gestapo prisons in Vienna, and in the process witnessed the mercilessness of Nazi justice. "Beat me, I won't tell you anything" accompanies the now 87 year old as she traces her encounters and experiences from that time in their original locations in Vienna. The film focusses on Sasso's activities and her imprisonment from 1938 to 1944, during which time she came to know the most important protagonists of Austria's resistance movement.
In Asmahan`s Presence
As times harden in the Arab world, people have begun to recall the greatest diva of all time: Asmahan, the Syrian princess who emigrated to Egypt in the twenties and became an entertainer.
Today, traces of the Cairo that Asmahan once loved are difficult to find in the blanket of apathy that weighs on the city. It was in Cairo that Asmahan sang her famous song «Euphoric Nights in Vienna»(1944), in which she manufactured an Arab fantasy for the European city. Today, many Arabs go to Vienna in search of the dream whispered to them by the greatest diva. But things are not quite that simple.
Asmahan is not the angel everyone imagines her to be. Behind her angelic face are dark secrets, and it is time we stopped being manipulated by Asmahan's unbearable presence.
News from the Congress of Vienna
200 years ago, for the first time in history, every important world leader of the time came together in Vienna at a joint assembly. Napoleon had recently been vanquished in the Battle of Leipzig by a coalition of European armies and a Europe without Napoleon was to be divided up again by the victors. Where can the landmarks - architecturally, socially and on the map - from that period 200 years ago still be seen today? What connects this historic jigsaw puzzle to the present day? Napoleon and Metternich, two masterminds, their relationship to one another and the division of the new Europe are the focus of this documentary film.
The Invisible Man
Christmas 1960. After five years' imprisonment a man escapes from the most secure prison in Belfast using a file and bed sheets. After him: a 12,000-strong army of policemen and soldiers. But he is not caught. The escapee is Irishman, Danny Donnelly. At 16 he joined Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA. At 17 he was detained whilst handing out flyers and sentenced to ten years imprisonment by reason of his membership of a terrorist organisation. 50 years after his escape, together with his daughter, Danny retraces his footsteps during his escape through present-day Northern Ireland and meets his helpers and adversaries from back then. A film on the conflict in Northern Ireland from a completely new perspective about belief, guilt and forgiveness.
2016 - Best Editing - Irish Film & Television Academy
A.Life - Berthold Kaufmann's Return to Exile
Berthold Kaufmann is one of the last contemporary witnesses of the Nazi terror in his hometown, Graz. Having successfully fled from Austria in 1939, he returned in 1948. At the age of 88, Berthold Kaufmann travels with his family to the staging points of his nine years of exile. A film about life and survival.
On the Rails of the Double Headed Eagle - A Journey Through the Austrian-Hungarian Empire
"On the Rails of the Double Headed Eagle" shows the development of the gigantic railroad network throughout the Danube Monarchy with its many main and branchlines, which impressive masterstrokes in engineering have been accomplished inorder to connect the steppes of Galicia with the coasts of the Adriatic Sea. The film highlights the many effects of building railroads and their enormous importance to military and warfare. It shows a journey through a sunken empire along its thousands and thousands of kilometers of railroad tracks which lead us to the cities and villages, forests and mountains, wide plainsand rocky coasts under the double headed eagle of Austria-Hungary.
Isonzo - The War in the Mountains
Even today, the region along the river Soca in Slovenia, which becomes Isonzo over the border in Italy, is marked by the traces of the First World War. Trenches, emplacements and underground caverns along the Isonzo give us a mere taste of the vehemence and cruelty with which the war was conducted here. Its common history has made the region a transnational place of remembrance for many European peoples.This fascinating documentary searches for the traces and asks to what extent the events of the First World War, now almost 100 years ago, still shape the identity of the region and its people today.
The Stone Age Puzzle
Megaliths are prehistoric structures that were built from giant stone blocks, and they are among the greatest mysteries of mankind. How these monuments were built and what purpose they served has not yet been clearly decrypted. Only one thing is certain: the number of stone puzzles in Europe alone has reached over 40,000, and similar structures can also be found in Asia, Africa and America. This impressive documentary looks at possible construction techniques from the time and explores the social and religious environment of this historic period.
The Galilei Files
This documentary explains the background to the condemnation and rehabilitation of the scientist by the Roman Catholic church, and discusses, based on the case of Galileo, the relationship between science and theology from today's perspective. Where are the fault lines between the two worlds? Do they even still exist? And which areas of research have the potential to provoke as radical a change in our view of the world as Galilei's findings?
Mauthausen - A Memorial Through the Ages
An international committee took up a five year challenge to try a redesign of the memorial at the Mauthausen concentration camp- a place rich in history and importance. It was an interdisciplinary work with demanding aspects for all participants. How to start a project to such an extent? How to make the right decisions? How to communicate the desired content? Contemporary witnesses of all over the world describe their experiences in the concentration camp. They tell the impressive background stories of new exhibits and set new impulses for the international dealing with the Nazi era.
Lost Lives - Women in Gulag
In the 1920s many European women emigrated to the Soviet Union in search of a new and better life. Their goal was to build up a new society where unemployment, the economic chaos and the the civil war belong to the past. However, instead of improving their situation they remained foreigners in between repression, death sentence and prison camp. As the wife of a "repressed" they came into the women prison camps while their husbands either immediately were shot down or condemned to prison camp for years. The women were separated from their children and had to survive inhuman life circumstances in the camp. After the conclusion of the Hitler Stalin pact some of them were directly sent from Stalin's GULAG into the Nazi concentration camps. Most of them could only leave the camp after the Second World War.
The documentary "Lost lives" is portraying almost forgotten women who, under extreme life circumstances, ended up in the Soviet GULAG. Next to well-known Austrian women the documentary also tells the stories of the German Margarete Buber-Neumann, Aino Kuusinen (wife of the leader of the Finnish communist party), the Spanish Carolina Codina (first wife of Sergei Sergejewitsch Prokofjew) and other women from Great Britain and France.
The Road to War (The End of an Empire)
"The Road to War" uses elaborate re-enactments, fascinating Computer Generated Imagery and previously unseen archive footage to examine how the assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 came about and how Austria-Hungary used the death of the heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, to start a war against Serbia. The film investigates how this regional conflict caused the Central Powers and the Triple Entente to enter the First World War - at the time, the biggest war in history with 17 million soldiers and civilians killed and more than 20 million injured.
Shadows of the Past - The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra 1938-1945
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is still often called «Nazi-Orchestra», as the past has been haunting them for many years. Will the brown shadow of Austria's most important cultural export ever fade away? This extraordinary documentary highlights the consistency with which the Vienna Philharmonics charged a commission of historians to clear their past. The archives were opened to Prof. Rathkolb, Dr. Trümpi and Mag. Mayrhofer, the most established critics amongst historians in Austria. Director Robert Neumüller accompanied the team down to the deepest basement of the State Opera where sensational new files could be found. The closer you look, the more the shining image of the orchestra during the Nazi era crumbles. Especially their Jewish members had to face a tragic reality: They were dismissed, seven of them died, thereof five in concentration camps. Others were able to escape and could emigrate, such as concertmaster Arnold Rosé, whose daughter was arrested in Holland. She conducted the orchestra for women until her death in Auschwitz. The work of the historians revealed a lot of completely unknown shades. Archive material that has never been shown before gives fascinating insights into the Nazi past of Austria's most famous orchestra. Finally, the film dissolves the captivating mystery of the ring of honor which was brought to Baldur Schirach in 1967.
Sarajevo - The Assassination
In 2014 Europe remembered the outbreak of the First World War. The fateful war, which raged for four years and cost 12 million lives, began a century ago in 1914. The catalyst of the disaster was the murder of the Austrian successor to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo. This astonishing documentary conveys the dramatic events on the eve of the First World War. The last day of Franz Ferdinand and his wife is meticulously reconstructed for the first time. The film shows the course of the day leading up to the assassination practically minute by minute. The most recent research and artefacts provide the building blocks for this elaborate and exciting production. While the film follows the course of the day, flashbacks of the life of Franz Ferdinand are shown in a combination of one-of-a-kind historical recordings and newly filmed re-enactments.
Arik Brauer - A Childhood in Vienna
Arik Brauer has many identities that are just as colourful as his pictures: Viennese, Jewish, Israeli, cosmopolitan, socially committed. As a painter, musician, architect, sculptor and performer on stage, he is also creative. In Helene Maimann's film «Arik Brauer - A Childhood in Vienna» he recalls the time that became a lifelong inspiration and fixed reference point for him. His wife Naomi, daughters Timna and Ruth, niece Jasmin and two of his closest friends, the actor and director, Otto Schenk, and the Tibetologist, Ernst Steinkellner, tell his story. Arik Brauer, who was born in 1929 in the middle of the coldest winter in the last century, spent his early years under extreme conditions, and not just as far as the weather was concerned. He survived the years of National Socialism as a Jewish child in Vienna, became a passionate communist, mountaineer and singer after the war ended and, as a student of art, undertook long journeys by bike through Europe and Africa.
Cradle of Alpinism
The first ascent of the Ankogel on the border between Carinthia and Salzburg in 1762 represents the actual beginnings of alpinism. It was the first time that a glaciated alpine summit over 3,000 metres had been conquered, four years earlier Mont Blanc and other famous Alpine mountains. The pioneering act of a bold farmer with the unusual name of Patschg soon found numerous imitators; in the coming 100 years countless summits followed, including the Grossglockner and Matterhorn, which were climbed by the English mountaineer Edward Whymper, who later also succeeded in scaling Chimborazo for the first time. «Alpinism» soon became the name for extreme mountain climbing, not only in the Alps, but all over the world. The film covers the first time that the Ankogel was climbed 250 years ago, the most important first ascents in the eastern and central Alps, and finally the mountains of the Himalayas - Nanga Parbat and Everest, which are famed and feared in equal measure.
The End of the Future
If we were to believe the forecasts of the esoteric prophets of doom, it might have been to be somewhat uncomfortable. Naturally, nothing happened at the 2012 winter solstice. Nevertheless, people always want to believe in catastrophe. Fear of the future is big business for many and has the cash registers of modern end-of-days prophets ringing. Science and technology fool us into thinking that we have absolute dominance over nature. What remains is the latent panic in the face of anything that manages to evade our influence.
Between 1934 and 1942, 526 Austrians immigrated to Colombia, which had been a safe haven for refugees since the Austrian civil war in the1930ies. The majority of those immigrants were Jews, who escaped after the «Anschluss», the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany, to South America. Most of them reached Colombia via the seaport Barranquilla. There and in the capital, Bogotá, they found a new homeland, established companies, and built up a living. The film presents personal destinies of those emigrants with archive material and contemporary interviews. 526 is dedicated to all those people, who had to leave their home country and to those many who were not able to escape.
Calendars, Cults and Cultures
What do we really know about the historical relationship between humans and the cosmos? It has always been to some extent a religious relationship and beliefs were usually exterminated along with ancient knowledge. What remains are small remnants, such as the Maya calendar, which reveals amazing things even without its famous expiration date in December 2012. This documentary covers a wide range of aspects, revealing worldwide phenomena: From calendar stones to the stone lines of Carnac in Brittany to the seasonal traditions of Christians, Egyptians and Chinese to participation in a pagan fertility ceremony in the imposing stone circle at Avebury in the South of England.
Pills, Powders and Balms - The Cultural History of Medicines
A cultural history of medicines is also a cultural history of civilisation. Health care has been THE subject in every society and at every time in our history. How does a functioning health system bring about a stable society? What were and are the great evolutionary steps in the development of new medicines and what are the challenges for the future? From the herbal gardens of the Middle Ages and Paracelsus to the great researchers of the 19th and 20th centuries, the cultural history of medicines is a fascinating journey through the history of mankind.
Mussels, Coins and Posting Lines - The Cultural History of Money
The history of money runs parallel with the entire history of mankind. The manifestations of money have changed repeatedly and will continue to do so in future. Money is one of the most important factors in the economic, societal and social development of civilisation. This is also shown by the different forms of money throughout our history, from primitive money and coins to the first bank notes and the virtual money of the future. For all these subjects, the film travels to the hotspots of finance, from London to Frankfurt, and on the ground illuminates the cultural history of money in a sophisticated way.
The Freemasons and Music
Freemasonry has been shrouded in a veil of secrecy, mystery and even suspicion since the outset. What lies behind it has undergone many centuries of development that has taken place under a pledge of secrecy. With their progressive ideas and principles, the Freemasons' lodges were always especially attractive for artists and musicians. Between Vienna, Rosenau, Cologne and Washington, this film attempts to get to the bottom of the secretive world of the freemasons through their famous composer members such as Haydn, Mozart, Lortzing and Liszt, Duke Ellington and Irving Berlin, and succeeds in uncovering some surprising insights.
Austria's Forgotten Visionary - Nobel Peace Price Laureate Alfred H. Fried
A contemporary history documentary about apersonality once known all over Europe andnow utterly forgotten: Alfred Hermann Fried.Around the turn of the century, he playedan important role in initiating the Europeanpeace movement, for which he was awarded,among other things, the 1911 Nobel PeacePrize. Even during and after the First World War,he continued his commitment and could notbe dissuaded from the fundamental idea thatultimately only an - as he put it -«organisationof states» would be in a position to regulate thepeaceful coexistence of peoples. The film portraysFried's career. It's the way of an adventurous,tragic life and at the same time the path tothe origin of the idea of a united Europe.
Elisabeth Heller - The Century Woman
«The best serenity teacher in the world» is what her son André Heller called her in a Christmas card. The 97-year-old Elisabeth Heller sports the pragmatic world view that he seems to be soutterly lacking. Elisabeth Heller's life constitutes a kaleidoscope of a century of Austrian history: growing up in a «good family», being evacuated to the countryside during the First World War, in the interwar period a beguiling beauty getting married to a man twice her age. Domestic life, without being allowed to work, at the side of an eccentric, dreamy confectionery manufacturer. Through the «Aryanisation» of the family livelihood and the indignities her Jewish husband suffers, the Catholic experiences what it means to live in a Nazi dictatorship. Going on 50, she rebelsand gets a job: in a fancy fashion studio. At the age of 80, she mortgages her home and her jewellery, for son Franz, who now calls himself André.
South Tyrol - Between Hope and Violence
On 11 June 1961 - in the Night of Fire - a seriesof bombings rocked South Tyrol. Within minutes of each other, more than sixty explosive devices were detonated. The rolling thunder was heard throughout the night. With these acts of violence, South Tyroleans tried to call attention to the oppression of the German-speaking Tyroleans in South Tyrol by Italian politics. «Freedom fighters»or «terrorists«? Half a century after the start of a series of attacks that claimed more than twenty lives and ended in the arrest and torture of South Tyrolean perpetrators, some of them speak out about their motives. Italian Carabinieri officers and politicians tell of the shock the bomb attacks meant to Italy. Finally, the question is investigated of what Austrian politicians knew and how they influenced the «militants» of the «Befreiungsausschuss für Südtirol».
The Last Jew from Drohobych
The Last Jew from Drohobych is the story of Alfred Schreyer - in his own words - the only survivingpre-WWII Jewish resident in this Western Ukraine -Town. In the 1930s, Schreyer was a student of the eminent Polish writer, Bruno Schulz. During the Nazi occupation he survived forced labor and concentration camps. He returned home - after the war - alone. Schreyer became a singer and violinist in a local Cinema Lobby Orchestra, which was - until 1963 - a truly unique Soviet traditionin cinema culture. Today, Alfred Schreyer is living history; his life story chronicles a century in Drohobych caught between tragedy and resilience.
Prisoners of War - Deported and Exploited
By December 1941, almost two million Red Army soldiers had been captured and used as slave labour in concentration camps, armament factories and at farms. There they met fellow sufferers from Poland and Western Europe. In the subsequent years of «total war», hundreds of thousands of civilians from the former Soviet Union were deported to the Third Reich for forced labour to replace the manpower of conscripted Germans and Austrians.
Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg - Fascist and Patriot
Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg was the most glamorous politician of theFirst Austrian Republic. A man descended from an ancient noble family, awomaniser, a patriot and a fascist who turned from Hitler's admirer intohis grim opponent. In the republic, the declared monarchist of noble birthbecomes the leader of the «Heimwehr» (Home Guard) paramilitary groupsand the bitter antagonist of the socialists, who he fights. For the Austrofascist«Ständestaat» the enthusiastic fascist organises the support of Italian«Il Duce» Benito Mussolini.The historical documentary evaluates the life of a colourful politician anda conflicting person who as a playboy and a womaniser was a very publicstar in his time with enthusiastic adherents and rancorous enemies. Elaborateset pieces illustrate key turning points of his life, watershed events ofthe republic before 1938. After numerous affairs, the Catholic noblemanmarries his lover Nora Gregor, a Burg Theatre actress, who launches a filmcareer in the United States during the Second World War.
2012: The Turning Point - The Maya and the End of the World
Predictions have always fascinated people - particularly negative ones. In 2012, the Maya calendar will end - a calendar consisting of the remains of millenniums-old time records and forecasts of the Maya culture. The public is spooked by wild doomsday fantasies on that account - not least spurred by Roland Emmerich's blockbuster 2012. Will the counter reset to 0? Scientists are confident that it's simply the beginning of a new cycleof time. The New Age crowd, in turn, interprets this «reset» to 0 as a moral turning point - as astart into a better life. All the fuss about the ominousdate 2012 originates in the New Age scene; they expect a giant leap into a new dimension of consciousness.
Tilt - The Costa Concordia Drama
One of the largest, most luxurious and most expensive cruise ships in the world approaches the Tuscan island of Giglio much too fast and much too close. She hits a rock, lists and runs aground. The crew launches the rescue operation too slowly.
These are the facts of the disastrous so-called "bow" of the "Costa Concordia" commanded by Francesco Schettino.
More than 3,000 passengers are panicking, more than 1,000 crew members aren't sure what to do - at the end of the tragedy are 34 dead and the risk of massive pollution.
Was it recklessness or madness to go so close to the island? Was it irresponsibility or conscientious calmness to take to the boats so late?
Ulla Haider chronicles the course of a preventable disaster that shocked the world on 13 January 2012 and is reminiscent of what probably was the most terrible maritime disaster, the sinking of the "Titanic," almost exactly 100 years earlier.
Striving for Success
«Striving for Success» tells the extraordinary stories of Austrian sporting greats who have enjoyed worldwide success, such as Niki Lauda, Thomas Muster, Hermann Maier, Heinz Kinigadner and Thomas Geierspichler, as well as the significant events that have taken place in the lives of Princess Dr. Therese von Schwarzenberg and the son of Heinz Kinigadner. In highly personal interviews, these sportspeople describe their experience of serious accidents, the associated convalescence and seemingly indomitable will to once again fight their way to the top of the world. In this way Lauda, Muster and Maier have all become legends that are immortal in the public's imagination.
Zweigelt - A Wine with a Twist
An Austrian wine innovator whose roots can be traced deep into the National Socialism. In 1922, in Klosterneuburg near Vienna, Friedrich Zweigelt crossed the St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch varieties of grape. The result was the «Zweigelt», Austria's «national red», which has been described by the initiated as follows: «at first glance everything is normal and lovely, but then an abyss opens up.» The same could be said to apply to the variety's creator. Zweigelt was a Nazi party member from the word go and, as director of the Institute of Viticulture during Hitler's dictatorship, persecuted anyone who raised even the slightest suspicion of resistance, excluded Jews from his courses, and even after 1945 showed no remorse. This film by Gerald Teufel illuminates the unknown past of a highly decorated wine connoisseur and shows the real stories that may lie behind some of Austria's national treasures.
Ötzi - An Archaeological Detective Story
It was a bright autumn day on 19th September 1991 when Mr & Mrs Simon discovered a body on the Similaun glacier. It wasn't an isolated case that year. Storms had brought the finest Saharan sand to the Alps - and this, combined with the summer sun, caused the glaciers to begin to melt. In Tyrol alone the eternal ice gave up 6 bodies, including tourists and mountaineers. The sixth body turned out to be Ötzi, who had died 5300 years ago during the Neolithic period also known as New Stone Age. He is the oldest preserved mummy in the world - even older than the Egyptian kings. His discovery opened a new door into the past. A scientific sensation and the oldest known criminal case in history - a case that is yet to be solved.
How Franz became LISZT
How did a village boy become the Franz Liszt? The childhood of Franz Liszt in Austria's Burgenland region is the focal point of this episode of «Stories from Austria». The fi lm examines the key locations of his childhood as they are now and discovers an amazing continuity of artisanry, agriculture and music. This makes it easy to obtain a sense through the fi lm of an attitude to life that cannot be so very far away from the impressions formed by the young Franz Liszt. It offers a glimpse of the beauties of his small world through a child's eyes: the land is vast, the castle is home to a prince, the music is played by gypsies and their wives foretell the future. Every brushmaker is a wizard, every animal a friend, every sound an enticement. But above all this is a musical fi lm. At the heart of it is the eleven-year-old prodigy, Oskar Weihs. Among other things, he plays excerpts from the piano works of Ferdinand Ries, Joseph Haydn, Johann Sebastian Bach and in a very special setting, Franz Liszt's fi rst composition. Added to this are gypsy music by Janoska and Ciganski Diabli and from Mosa Sisic, excerpts from Haydn's 'Stabat Mater', performed in Esterhazy Palace, and time and again, Franz Liszt. A film to listen to, watch and marvel at - HOW FRANZ BECAME LISZT!
Ballet in White - The Spanish Riding School
Styria: on a cold January night, a mousy-grey colt is welcomed into the world. It takes its fi rst steps, drinks around 20 litres of mare's milk every day, gets to know people and other foals and spends wonderful summers in Alpine meadows with the herd, growing stronger and more sure-footed with time. The difference between it and other, «ordinary» horses is that at three and a half years old, it will become clear whether or not the young stallion is suitable for continuing a 430-year-old tradition. It is at this stage that it will become apparent whether or not it will move to Vienna, to become - after a further six years of training - a world-wide star, a Lipizzaner at the Spanish Riding School.
Ten Tips for Stopping Doing the Dishes and Making a Start on Icelandic Literature - Insight Into the World of Hallgrimur Helgason
This film profiles the Icelandic author, Hallgrimur Helgason. The writer, dramatist, painter, comic book artist and cabaret artiste is one of Iceland's most interesting artistic personalities. His book, «The Hitman's Guide to House Cleaning» (original title «10 Tips for Stopping Killing People and Starting to Do the Dishes») has also become a best seller in the German-speaking world. In this portrait the author provides an insight into his work and the Icelandic language and culture, and also talks about current topics such as the financial crisis and the possibility of Iceland joining the EU.
Meter by Meter - An Autumn with Martin Kusej
This is an unusual kind of portrait. At its heart is theatre professional, stage mastermind, pictorial provocateur and director, Martin Kusej, one of the most successful theatrical and operatic directors in the German-speaking world. The film depicts an autumn spent with him following his work and life as an artist - with no external commentary it shines a light into his world. With no stage management, genuinely, and above all without cliché, fragments of his life and vocation are pulled together to create an exciting portrait.
Across Borders - Music from the Balkans
Turbo folk and Bach, soft pop and smoochies, Bukovina dub and brass bands - the music of the Balkans is as varied as its central figures. Ecstasy and despair are close bedfellows here - often there is
nothing between them. This documentary illuminates the scene in Vienna and Belgrade. In the process, political, ethnic and religious identity conflicts are uncovered, which sometimes date back to the war in the former Yugoslavia.
Eyewitness to History - Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral
The Cathedral, the emblem of Vienna, tells a story. After 374 years of construction, it has only officially been a cathedral for 43 years. This cinematic investigation passes from the legend of the Eberhardslinde via the remarkable barter contract of Mautern and the dominant role of Passau in Vienna, to the well-financed citizens' church and the 'Wiener Bauhütte' (Viennese Workshop), which was of European significance, and which actually for the most part did not build cathedrals in the sense of the seat of a Bishop. Secrets, legends and special features of Vienna's cathedral as well as hidden number games in the structure are revealed in this documentary and show both its origins and its future.
Jochen Rindt Lives
«Jochen Rindt Lives» gives an insight into the daring life of the much-admired motor-racing driver - from his childhood and schooldays to his first car, first racing successes and his career in Formula 1. The documentary incorporates comprehensive amounts of previously unreleased and private film material from Rindt's family and his fellow racers. For the first time Rindt's half brother and cousin appear on camera to speak about their childhood together. Companions and friends such as Helmut Marko, Jackie Stewart and Helmut Zwickl talk about the racing driver and phenomenon that was Jochen Rindt.
Small is Beautiful - Leopold Kohr
Globalisation seems to have reached its limits. An economic crisis, crashing financial empires and the consequences of climate change threaten the globalised world. But does this automatically mean we're doomed to collapse? Shouldn't we question the dogma of constant growth? Couldn't a new modesty in lifestyle also offer us new perspectives? Questions like the ones above where asked already 50 years ago by an Austrian-born economistand political scientist, originating from Oberndorf in Salzburg: Professor Leopold Kohr.
The challenges the world is facing today make Kohrs ideas more topical than ever. Discussions about smaller entities, regionality and a new sense of humility as alternatives to globalisation in economics, politics and society are in the air. Does mankind find the way back to human measure after years of gigantism?
The documentation shows how the ideas of Kohr took their journey round the world, left their mark on many countries and regions and finally arrived back in Salzburg in the form of the cultural association Tauriska and the Leopold-Kohr-Academy.
Bruno Kreisky - Politics and Passion
He was an Austrian politician, the kind that comes once a century. And in January 2011 he would have been a century old. "Bruno Kreisky. Politics and Passion" is the portrait of a man who loved politics with a passion; for him, politics was life itself.
It was utterly extraordinary that Kreisky, a social Democrat from a middle-class Jewish family in Vienna, should rise to the position of Austrian Foreign Minister and then Chancellor, and be elected three times with an absolute majority. During the 1970s half the world was fascinated by this fact. He was a reformer, a media genius, a great rhetorician and an internationalist who turned his country into a bridge between East and West and made huge efforts to secure a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East.
The film "Bruno Kreisky. Politics and Passion" shows Kreisky in five key situations during his political life but also reveals the private man. There are also comments from several prominent contemporaries and companions, including Henry Kissinger, former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, Austrian President Heinz Fischer, the industrialist Hannes Androsch, the artist André Heller and the journalist Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi.
The Kapuzinergruft - Gravesite of the Habsburg Dynasty
The Habsburg Family gravesite, located underneath a Capuchin monastery in Vienna, is one of the most exciting gravesites of the world. Twelve Habsburg emperors are laid to rest here - among them are world-famous historic figures as Empress Marie Louise, who was once married to Napoleon, and Emperor Maximilian of Mexico.
Using exclusive shots as well as historic footage the film documents the staging of death of the House of Habsburg.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt - A Portrait
Opera houses are keen to snap him up, while orchestras and star soloists bring out their best under his direction. Nikolaus Harnoncourt secured his place in the history of classical music long ago with his great love of music and exceptional performances. This documentary accompanies the 80-year-old world renowned conductor and aristocrat on his tireless search for musical perfection, presenting along the way some of his greatest moments in classical music. In a very personal interview Nikolaus Harnoncourt recounts his career and explains his musical credo, his relationship to his native land and his thoughts on ageing. Filmed rehearsals and interviews with his family and colleagues give an authentic insight into the life of the star conductor and convey an impression of his reasoned and yet emotional way of thinking and working.
Days of Catastrophe - Terror at the Airport
Abu Nidal's bloody footprints stain Vienna and Rome. It is a day that shocks Europe. On December 27, 1985, three days after Christmas, the airports of Vienna and Rome become the sudden target of Middle East terror. The then-notorious Abu Nidal Organization makes coordinated attacks on the check-in counters of the Israeli airline El-Al in both cities. The merciless result: three dead in Vienna, sixteen in Rome, and a total of more than one hundred injured. Several of the terrorists are shot by the responding security forces, and the survivors are arrested. The terrorists - Palestinians, but opponents of the PLO - are stopped for the moment. But the shock goes deep, and lingers. It is the first time an Austrian airport has been the victim of a terrorist attack. Twenty-five years later, the film «Terror at the Airport» follows the bloody trail of Abu Nidal and reconstructs the attacks - presenting new facts, previously unknown documents, and surprising statements from eyewitnesses and others involved. One of the sensational new sources is documentation from the former East Germany's state security service, the «Stasi». Research for «Terror at the Airport» delved deep into the former German Democratic Republic's archives, the first time this source has been examined for information about that horrible crime. Abu Nidal and his «Fatah - The Revolutionary Council» had close ties to the Stasi. The newly accessible reports show that the terror group's leader visited East Berlin several times in 1985, the year of the attacks - for education, arms, and ideological training. Also for the first time, the traumatizing events in Vienna are presented from an Israeli point of view, since the terrorists' actual targets were El-Al passengers to Tel Aviv. One of them, severely wounded in the attack, died in a Viennese hospital. And Israeli security officials played an essential role, too: El-Al's security took an active part in hitting back at the terrorists. Twentyfive years later, the unanswered questions of the time are examined with the knowledge of today. How did the attacks actually unfold? Were there precautions for terror of that scope or any secret service warnings? What did the East German Stasi know about Abu Nidal's plans? Were there credible threats against Austria, known for its strong pro-PLO position? The answers expose new facts and surprising results. A quarter of a century after the bloody events, a fuller picture of the Abu Nidal Organization emerges - a Palestinian group that chose to make Austria a target because of its Palestinian-friendly politics.
Peter Rosegger - Farmer's Boy and Revolutionary
Born in 1843 in a profoundly rural area in the Alps, where anyone ends up as a farmer or labourer, Peter Rosegger, however, decides to become an author. The age of the stock exchange, developments in new technologies and the unbridled growth prompt him to take a clear stand on society, politics and economics. With over 15 million books sold he is one of the most read authors of his time. He became an honorary member of London's «Royal Society of Literature», received numerous honorary doctorates and was even nominated for the Nobel prize in 1913.
Archduke Johann - Visionary and Philanthropist
He was a monarch whose thinking was future-oriented and ahead of its time and which had an inspirational influence on the whole of Europe. However, two centuries lie between his actions and the world of today; centuries in which the world has changed more and faster than in the preceding ones. What then of Archduke Johann's innovations can still endure today? This documentary shows a portrait of a man whose deeds had a decisive effect on the lives of many people and served as a basis for many subsequent generations.
Homebound Through the World - The Lifetime Journey of Frederic Morton
Morton, who in February 1940 - back then still under the name Fritz Mandelbaum - emigrated to the United States, like so many other émigrés carries these two strangers inside him. And down to the present day he has not forgotten where his long journey began. Andrea Eckert accompanied Morton, a Viennese by birth, to Vienna's 17th district. Morton, of course, proves to be a great storyteller, for example, when he recalls his childhood memories of his grandfather. This is a film about homecoming and thus Morton's success as a writer remains in the background. The main concern is the private person, who, in Morton's own words, lives in two exiles: an exile with regards to geography and an exile with regards to time.
The Sound of Hollywood
This documentary uses previously unpublished materials and contemporary witnesses to tell the story of the astonishing career of composer Max Steiner.Shaped by the musical world of Vienna, Max Steiner brought the music of Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler to Hollywood, where he established a new musical genre for the nascent «talkies»:symphonic film music.He produced musical scores for over 300 films, including classics such as «Gone with the Wind» and «Casablanca», was recognised with three Oscars and still has an influence on film music composers - such as the Austrian composer Gerrit Wunder - today.
Available in 1x45min and 1x50min
Hans Hass - The Man Who Discovered the Sea
For hundreds of thousands of divers and underwater specialists throughout the world the name Hans Hass is synonymous with everything that takes places under the ocean waves.
First On Mount Everest
In 1953, Edmund Hillary was the first person to conquer Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain. At least, that's what the history books tell us. But German researcher Jochen Hemmle casts doubt on this belief. Just below the summit of Mount Everest he and his team discovered the well-preserved body of George Mallory, who in 1924 had made an assault on the peak with his climbing partner Andrew Irvine. Did Mallory stand on the summit 30 years before Hillary? To find an answer to this question, we follow Jochen Hemmle on a second risky search expedition to the roof of the world.
Available in 1 x 50min and 1 x 90min.
Return to Europe
Savagery and darkness, tribal feuds and vendettas, political chaos and the belief that might be right: numerous myths are interwoven with the Balkans and there is hardly another region of Europe which has to put up with such deeply entrenched clichés. To the prevailing negative image has recently come a folkloristic embellished picture of a people who would rather put themselves into an earthy celebratory mood with wild brass music than attend to any «sane» economic necessities.
Episodes available for Europe only until March 2015:
Available worldwide until March 2015:
Nikolaus Harnoncourt - 25 Years Styriarte
The styriarte music festival was first held 25 years ago. At the time the idea was to bring Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the pioneering conductor, closer to his home town. This worldwide star has remained at the heart of the festival to the present day and plays a key role in shaping the programme with productions that have caused an international sensation. »styriarte» has become the star conductor's «home game». Over the course of the years he has recorded cycles by Schumann, Beethoven, Haydn, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schubert here, and brought musical projects to fruition that would not have been possible elsewhere. The documentary shows the chronology and highlights of the past 25 years and, among other things, provides a glimpse of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe's enthralling and enjoyable rehearsals for Bedrich Smetana's symphonic cycle, «My Fatherland».
A Life of Travel - Retracing the Journeys of Max Reisch
21 year old Max Reisch became a household name in 1933 after making an epic journey from Vienna to India; 15,000 kilometres on a motorbike, without supplies or back-up, through dangerous regions like Iraq, Persia and Pakistan. In fact, for over half a century the Austrian was away travelling in Africa, Asia and America. His accounts of his travels fuelled a fascination for foreign places at a time when travel was impossible for most people. The filmed records of his journeys have also become valuable documents of lost cultures. This documentary draws an intimate picture of an early globetrotter, adventurer,film pioneer and cultural commentator.
The Best Selling Monks - A Miracle with Side Effects
Over a million copies of the «Chant Music for Paradise» CD have been sold over the past two years. The monks from Heiligenkreuz Abbey have topped the charts across the world with their Gregorian chants and left stars such as Madonna and Amy Winehouse trailing in their wake. But how did this unusual joint venture between commerce and prayer come about? And what effect has their unexpected worldwide popularity had on the monks' lives? The documentary pursues these questions and looks behind the scenes of their success. It scrutinises the view of the world held by Heiligenkreuz Abbey, an institution that is considered to be ecclesiastically conservative, reveals PR and marketing mechanisms and discusses the question of the extent to which the success a CD of this kind can be sustained.
«The Best Selling Monks - A Miracle with Side Effects» is the extraordinary story of the clash between money and prayer.
Hermann Gmeiner - Founder of SOS Children's Village
Albert Schweitzer once described the children's villages as «the most pleasant miracle of the post war era.» As Hermann Gmeiner's idea was fi rst put into practice in 1949 no one could have imagined its groundbreaking success. Today there are almost 2000 establishments and assistance programs in 138 countries and territories, which help thousands of children and young people fi nd accommodation and protection. To mark the 90th birthday of Hermann Gmeiner and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the fi rst children's village, this documentary sheds light on the founder and his ideas. Every-day-examples and exclusive insights show the development of SOS Children's Villages into an international organisation that encourages homeless children to face life again and helps those families who live in diffi cult conditions.
Mother Teresa - Saint of Darkness
«What am I working for? If there is no God, then there can be no soul either. If there is no soul, then you can't be true, Jesus!» wrote Mother Teresa in her notebook. Recently published personal letters and notes reveal Mother Teresa's profound spiritual crisis and shake the image of the «pious nun» to its foundations. How do such sentences fit with the image of the committed missionary, who felt that her work was ordered by God? How do they fit with the woman in a white sari and worn woollen cardigan who presented herself to the world as the «servant of her Lord»? Are they the cries for help of a physicallyand spiritually burned out woman, who hoped to hide her condition from the world in this way, or are they the kind of experiences that only «mystically gifted Christians» have? Mother Teresa - who was she really? These intimate confessions show the moral icon of the 20th century in a different light. The woman who achieved worldwide recognition for her life among the beggars and dying in the slums of Calcutta often felt lonely and empty inside. She described these experiences as a state of «darkness», which she herself referred to as a remoteness from God. Her life story is unsettling and provocative in equal measure; after all it touches upon the fundamental questions of human existence: why must we suffer? And why does God let it happen? - questions that troubled Mother Teresa throughout her life and which almost broke her. In spite of this she did not dare to express them openly. This film asks those questions.
Available as 1x45 min. / 1x52 min.
Architecture of Remembrance - The Monuments of Bogdan Bogdanovic
Between the 1950s and the 1980s Bogdan Bogdanovic ´, the architect, urbanist and man of letters, university professor and former mayor of Belgrade, created large-scale surrealist monuments against war and destruction, which were dispersed throughout the whole of Yugoslavia. His conciliatory memorials - some show the dimensions of ancient cities, others are genuine land art projects - rejected not only the socialistrealist doctrine of the era, but also any political or clerical appropriation. Already the subject of hostility from nationalist zealots even during the communist regime, as a humanist Bogdanovic´ was threatened with death in 1991 when civil war broke out in Yugoslavia and his work became the target of wanton destruction. This portrays a selection of his - in art history terms - unique and until now inadequately documented monuments for the first time.
Sanctuary - Escape to Uncertainty
Suddenly as free as a bird, yet still in mortal danger and stripped of their possessions; that was the fate of over 130,000 Jewish citizens and political opponents of the Nazis who only managed to survive the Holocaust by fleeing abroad. Those who succeeded in saving themselves experienced a dangerous odyssey which took them from country to country, often only one step ahead of the German Wehrmacht. By investigating the lives of four displaced Austrians on four different continents, this documentary shows their adventurous journeys.
Mountain climbers, jungle explorers and desert foxes - many of them ended up in the claws of the Nazi Party, the SS or the Wehrmacht because of their careers, scientific curiosity or their love of travel. Were these adventurers aware of the consequences of this association or were they simply interested in pursuing their own interests regardless of the price? That's the question that this documentary seeks to answer for the search for pre-historic sites in the Sahara led to the development of maps for the Wehrmacht, while an airborne expedition in the Amazon helped to develop aerial photographic analysis. The stories of explorers like Heinrich Harrer and Laszlo Almasy, better known as the «English Patient», are retold using spectacular pictures and footage from places like India, Egypt and Peru.
Dying for Hitler
They were the most brutal dictators of the 20th Century and fought the bloodiest war in history seeking the complete destruction of the enemy: Hitler and Stalin. Therefore the stereotypes of the enemy served as manipulative propaganda and Hitler succeeded to cast a spell over several millions of people who then went to war only to die or to return badly injured. Those who survived have been marked psychologically for their lives with the gruesome images of war. In this film, contemporary wittnesses tell of the total ideological indoctrination under Hitler and of the charging memories of the frontlines they cannot forget, depicting the juvenile enthusiasm for war and the fear of dying as well as their blind trust in the «Führer» and their return home as complete strangers. Private films and photo collections complement these defining life experiences giving an all to clear statement: Never again War!
This is the true story of the largest organised counterfeiting operation of all time. Former concentration camp inmates, who were involved in counterfeiting operations at Ebensee in Austria, look back on their experiences of this time in a series of moving personal interviews. Adolf Hitler's plan was to substantially weaken the British economy by circulating large numbers of counterfeit British banknotes. To this end, the most talented Jewish printers, typographers, engravers and painters were selected from among the inmates of the concentration camps, to produce the counterfeit money. Sensitively produced, with historically accurate and impressively illustrated scenes, the documentary takes the viewer through everyday life at the concentration camp, the development of the plan and its implementation.
45/53 min PAL 16:9 SD German
Hitler's Useful Idols - Otto Skorzeny: Hitler's Scarface
Otto Skorzeny was one of Hitler's most elusive «craftsmen of war». He was appointed commander of the newly established SS special units in 1943 and tasked with a new kind of warfare: fast special operation strikes with air support that could hit even far behind enemy lines. That same year, Skorzeny became both famous and feared around the world due to the spectacular liberation of dictator Benito Mussolini. Broad dueling scars from his student days gave him his nom de guerre: Scarface. To the secret services of the Allied forces, he was «the most dangerous man in Europe.» Until the end of the war, Skorzeny was Hitler's «most favorite command soldier». He received the orders for his most daring missions from no one but the Führer himself: after Mussolini's liberation, the capture of Hungarian dictator Miklós Horthy, for example. Even aiding in the development of special arms, Skorzeny fought doggedly to the end to avert the Third Reich's defeat. Skorzeny's special operations had a decisive impact on the course of World War II. Even moreeffective than any of his missions, however, was the Skorzeny myth. German propaganda turned him into an archetypal «Aryan war hero»: far superior to his opponents, never shrinking from any task, Hitler's «one-man secret weapon», a kind of Nazi «James Bond». Many still expected him to score a crucial surprise coup during the final stage of the war, a last-minute twist that would turn everything around, such as assassinating the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, amidst his general staff in Paris. The mission never took place and was never seriously planned. However, the rumors about it made the name Skorzeny a myth on both sides of the front. Across the world, Skorzeny above all others represents the idealization of the «upright German warrior»- respected equally by friend and foe - and is held in high esteem in radical right-wing and military circles to this day. Apart from his myth, Skorzeny himself survived the war, though his voluntarysurrender to the Americans and his subsequent acquittal from all charges at a war crimes trial in Dachau, Germany, only fueled his myth all the more. What could he be accused of in postwar Austria if even his enemies didn't consider him a war criminal, but merely someone «who had only done what they would have done themselves»? To avoid the possibility of further trials in Germany, Skorzeny fled to Generalissimo Franco's Spain. where he was officially active as a businessman but also as a real estate agent. Simultaneously, he was credited with the most ludicrous worldwide military operations -«Hitler's magic bullet», so to speak, serving as a mercenary on all continents. Otto «Scarface» Skorzeny, comicsuperhero of National Socialism, a strange conglomerate of German wartime propaganda, the Allies' ongoing fascination with the Nazis, and neo-narcissistic hero worship. A superhumanshadow figure who served as a projection screen for even the wildest and most contradictory visions, for good as well as evil. Following his death in Madrid in 1975, a group of former National Socialists and neo-Nazis brought Skorzeny's ashes to Vienna. The man Otto Skorzeny is dead but his myth endures to this day. Men around the world still dream of his adventures, read his books, compete with their role model in state-of-the-art 3D computer games, and will even buy a Skorzeny puppet as an object of admiration.
Hitler's Useful Idols - Hitler's Iron Angel
The incredible story of a young woman who crossed the Andes in a glider, piloted a helicopter through a sports arena, and advanced to chief test pilot of the German air force. Hanna Reitsch was born on March 29, 1912 in Hirschberg, Silesia. She was one of the bestknown and most successful German female pilots of the 20th century, and set over forty records in all classes and all types of airplanes. At first glance, Hanna Reitsch doesn't fit the Nazi ideal of a German woman and mother at all, yet the young pilot soon turns into one of the most popular heroines of Hitler's regime. She embodies modernity, daring, and unconditional belief in Nazi ideology, and the Nazis in turn offer the ardent aviation pioneer every opportunity to live her dream. Hanna Reitsch succumbs to their seductions. She is received into the Nazi leaders' innermost circle and always a welcome guest at both the Führer's beloved Bavarian mountain residence and his Berlin headquarters. A liaison connects her with the «aviation hero» Colonel General Ernst Udet, and she once asked Heinrich Himmler, «Reichsführer SS, are you gassing Jews?» As late as in April 1945, Reitsch tried to fly Adolf Hitler from his Berlin «Führerbunker», but was unable to persuade him. Under heavy fire, she landed a «Fieseler Stork» at the Brandenburg Gate and was one of the last to leave besieged Berlin, together with the commander of the German Air Force, Robert Ritter von Greim. Following World War II, the female «aviation legend» lived in Salzburg, among other places. After 18 months in prison, she resumed work as a test pilot, set yet more records, and was received in the White House by U.S. President John F. Kennedy. She died in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1979 and was buried in Salzburg. Even long after the war was over, she never completely distanced herself from National Socialism. The German news magazine «Der Spiegel» wrote in its obituary: «Hanna Reitsch ... embodied to an extreme the German National schizophrenia between outward modernity and inward medievalism, between technical and scientific intelligence and blind 'faith', between personal decency and collective barbarity.»
Hitler's Useful Idols - A Star for all Seasons
Adolf Hitler was full of admiration. He sent a splendid flower bouquet and congratulated her on her artistic mastery. In return, he received a telegram of thanks: «If I somewhat diverted you, mein Führer, for a few brief moments from the burden of your important responsibilities, I shall be forever proud and happy. With a German salute, your Marika Rökk.» It was November 1940, and the Führer's «important responsibilities» had already lacerated the continent. Large parts of Europe were subjugated to German rule, Nazi racial laws were in full force, and many Jews had either fl ed or been expelled, among them elites in music, theater, and film. Through her skill in dance and song, Marika´Rökk sought to entertain not only the Führer, butan entire people. Positioning herself as entirely nonpolitical, she claimed allegiance only to art, laughter, and entertainment. By the time Hitler rose to power, she was already a star, internationally acclaimed for her revue appearances in New York, London, Paris, and Monte Carlo. Her fi lm career, launched in 1934, made her an idol for an entire generation - even after the war. The Nazi regime was «celebrity-crazy». It paid court to its «Aryan artists» and exploited their vanities. After the expulsion of the Jewish artists, it took stars like Marika Rökk, popular names, public endorsements and other such reassurances to prove that the German nation's entertainmentindustry and cultural achievements would continue under the Nazi swastika. Excepting Zarah Leander, the Rökk, as she was commonly referred to, was the most prominent female «morale booster» of the terrible war years. In a system that allowed no art without ideology, Rökk's upbeat cheerfulness became an invaluable contribution to both the regime and the people, not only on the home front but also in the theater of war. At her concerts, whether on the front or in the German cities suffering more and more bombings, Marika Rökk presented herself as a merry whirlwind even in the face of imminent defeat, offering an artistic sedative against the grim toll of the bombings and the shattered economy. Particularly her revue fi lms with their stereotypical and idealized world-view counteracted the grueling reality of the German «total war». Thes «hang in there» movies offered people their last escape into illusion. After 1945, she suffered a brief fall from grace. Rökk hadn't appeared in any propaganda films. «So what did I have to pay for?» she asked rather rhetorically and bitter after she was banned from public appearances until 1948. Her inclusion on the «black list», however, was quickly counterbalanced by her performances for the American occupying forces. Allegations that she had been a Nazi spy were soon dismissed, and a court of honor of the actors' union provided her rehabilitation. Her talent was independent of any political system or ideology. It wasn't just a Nazi dictator who loved her but the Americans and Russians too, especially in the newly established democratic Austrian republic. She was, indeed, a star for all seasons and would soon divert her audiences again, this time from the daily routine under Allied occupation and life between the ruins left by the relentless bombings of war.
1918 - A New Beginning
After Franz Ferdinand's death the multiethnic state of the Austro-Hungarian Empire fell into military and political turmoil and engaged in a devastating confrontation. The Russian revolution ended the war in October 1917, setting free parts of the army for the Italian front. However, it was the American entry into the conflict which finally sealed the defeat. 1.2 million soldiers of the «K&K Army» lost their lives for «Emperor, God and Fatherland». By the end of the war a different Europe had emerged, a Europe that was drawn along new ideological and political lines as the peace treaties weighed heavily on the already fragile fundament of the states. Two 100 yearold veterans who then were part of the Austro- Hungarian and the Italian army share their firsthand insights and vivid thoughts about the background, causes, impact and consequences of the First World War.
When the Sun Stands Still - Kepler, Galileo and the Heavens
It was 400 years ago that Galileo Galilei opened the window to the skies with a telescope. In 1609 Johannes Kepler published his «Astronomia Nova» and in the process provided us with a new understanding of our solar system. This documentary tells the little-known story of the curious relationship between the two world-famous scientists: a parallel tale of admiration and rivalry from a time when the disciplines of religion, art and science had yet to be separated. The correspondence exchanged between the protestant Kepler and catholic Galileo began in the 1590s and came to an end in 1610. Based on this correspondence the film shows the world famous scholars in all their humanity: were their actions governed solely by common sense, or did obstinacy, vanity, fear, indecision and a hunger for fame and prestige play a part?
Europe's Largest Crucible - The Hunt for Jackl the Sorcerer
In the harsh times of the 17th century, loss of faith and bad living conditions are an ideal breeding ground for myths and stories of witchcraft. Jackl Koller and his mother Barbara band together with groups of beggar's children to survive poverty, famine and illness. Under torture, Barbara confesses that she and her son cast curses on farmers who refused to give them money. An arrest warrant is issued for her son Jackl, marking the beginning of the largest witch-hunt in Europe's history. This documentary explores what life must have been like in those times using dramatic re-enactments.
Out of Paradise, Back into Hell
In the years 1941 to 1943 approximately 10,000 Austrian Jews were deported from Vienna to the Belarus capital of Minsk and then on to the National Socialist concentration camp, Maly Trostinez. Only 20 people survived this horror. Amongst them is now 82-year-old Alfred Seiler who has lived in Florida for many years. Tormented his entire life by the dreadful memories from the past, he embarks on a journey to the former sites of horror in an attempt to finally process the terrible experiences in the NS camp. Can he banish them once and for all?
Lighter Than Air
Forty years ago a group of young men and women moved in with friends in Switzerland and subsequently to France in order to build an airship. With this plan the hippie commune wanted not only to escape the boredom of student life, but also to make a contribution towards the development of alternative technologies. After a very promising start and developing their own materials, the time came for the first attempt at flight, which ended in disaster with the airship exploding. After this setback the commune drifted apart; part of the group emigrated to the USA, where even NASA employees were persuaded tojoin their project. But with this the time for dreaming came to an end. The group scattered to the four winds. But the story of the airship is not over. Thirty years later this documentary film looks at the search for a utopian world from the present day point of view.
Days of Catastrophe - White Death
It was the Alps' greatest avalanche catastrophe. In January 1954, thirteen avalanches laid waste to entire villages in the state of Vorarlberg's Walsertal region. In the hardest-hit village of Blons alone, 118 people are buried in their houses. A second avalanche, nine hours later, buries most of the rescue teams. Eventually, 55 victims are recovered dead, and another two remain missing. The terrible result of this infamous winter of avalanches: more than 260 buried alive, 45 seriously injured, and 125 dead - mostly killed in their crushed homes. It was the biggest natural disaster in the Eastern Alps after World War II. Helicopters of the French occupying forces and American soldiers on the ground assisted in the rescue effort. The catastrophe of Blons prompted the construction of avalanche protection throughout the Alps. The inhabitants of the alpine valleys had lived with the «White Death» for centuries, accepting avalanches as an act of fate. The higher-situated villages of the Walsertal still offer a glimpse into the traditional, almost archaic life of today's mountain population. Survivors of the catastrophe of Blons talk about living and dying in that terrifying time, of shrugged-off warnings, neglected dangers, and how the sorrow was overcome. Rescuers speak of their helplessness in the face of utter destruction and its human cost. This documentary ties into the bestselling book «Der Atem des Himmels» («The Breath of Heaven») by Austrian former rock singer Reinhold Bilgeri. Bilgeri, whose mother survived the catastrophe in Blons, takes us on a journey through his village and his past. The film adaptation of his book is scheduled for release in autumn 2010.
Days of Catastrophe - Death in the Dark
November 2010 marks the ten-year anniversary of the Kaprun disaster. On November 11, 2000, fire in the tunnel trapped a railway car ascending to the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. 150 of 162 passengers died of smoke inhalation. It was, at the time, the worst accident that had occurred in Austria since World War II. The complete death toll was 155, including the conductor, a tourist on the railway's descending train, and three people at the mountain station. The cause of the catastrophe remains controversial to this day. While Austrian courts consistently ruled that a German company's defective fan heater was responsible for the tunnel fire, German courts and experts assert the cause was improper handling of that fan heater. The bitter dispute continues. This documentary reconstructs the tragic events, talks to survivors and rescuers, and analyzes the consequences of this traumatic experience for the victims, their families, and the people of Kaprun.
The Voynich Code - The World's Most Mysterious Manuscript
It is the world's most mysterious manuscript. A book, written by an unknown author, illustrated with pictures that are as bizarre as they are puzzling - and written in a language that even the best cryptographers have been unable to decode. No wonder then, that this script even has a part in Dan Brown's latest bestseller, «The Lost Symbol». The Voynich Manuscript has captivated academics and occultists in equal measure since its discovery 100 years ago. The decoders of the Japanese Purple Code, physicists with high-performance modern computers and polymath historians have all tried their luck. But to date nobody has been able to decipher the book's contents. «The Voynich Mystery» follows a completely new lead in the hunt for the author's identity and uncovers the secret of the mysterious manuscript using the methods of materials science. To the present day many historians believe the manuscript to be a fake, allegedly circulated by the New York antique book dealer, Wilfrid Voynich, in 1912 so that he could offer it to wealthy manuscript collectors. Voynich did not, however, succeed in selling the mysterious manuscript to a collector during his lifetime. After his death, it eventually found its way into the collection of the University of Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The manuscript's age, origin and contents remained unknown. For almost a century, the numerous illustrations in particular have given rise to the most adventurous speculation and astounding theories. The secret lettering itself is also still a source of great mystery. But now a new investigative approach has shed new light into the maze of conflicting theories and ideas. At the home of the Voynich Manuscript, the University of Yale, the mysterious text has been looked at again using the methods of material science.
Two towns and one mountain in the Austrian province of Tyrol changed the world. They took humankind from the depths of the Middle Ages to modern times. They helped the Habsburgs and German commercial traders to power and wealth. This is where 80% of the world's silver was mined. An instrument of currency was established right here, the «Taler», which would later become the world-renowned «Dollar». Today the Tyrolean cities of Schwaz and Hall, and the Falkenstein «Silver Mountain», have sunk into a long slumber. This film revives the historic lives of these cities by reconstructing the day-today experience of the miners and their medieval technology.
Gonsalvus - The Real Beauty and the Beast
From his birth in 1556 on Tenerife, Petrus Gonsalvus suffered from a rare condition now called «hypertrichosis» or «Ambras syndrome»: his body, including his face, was completely covered with hair, leading scholars to believe he was a talking ape. At the age of ten he was given as a gift to King Henry II of France, where he soon spoke fluent French, Italian and Latin and entertained the court with his brilliant conversation. The Queen decided to test if he really was human, and the pretty daughter of a court servant was bribed to marry Gonsalvus. But Petrus and Catherine finally fell in love and had several children; sadly, those who inherited their father's rare condition were given away to other noble courts in Europe. Meanwhile, the film meets Larry Gomez, a Mexican-American actor who lives with the same condition today, which science can now explain but cannot «cure». Will he too find someone to share his life? «Gonsalvus - The Real Beauty and the Beast», like the 18th-century fairy-tale, is the archetypal story of how ignorance and cruelty can only be overcome by love.
The Invention of Europe - (Un)expected Consequences of the Marshall Plan
Many contemporary historians and academics see the Marshall Plan as the first significant step towards European integration. However the plan devised by the former US foreign minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner, George C. Marshall, which initially cost 12.5 billion dollars, was controversial even at the time. Many American taxpayers were critical of the newly established policy of using money from the US to help support failed foreign economies. This documentary traces the development and effects of the Marshall Plan with the aid of interviews with eyewitnesses from that time. It attempts to bring the viewer closer to an authentic understanding of developments following the Second World War by portraying the fate of individuals in a range of different situations and professions, using the unique historical source of the «Wochenschau».
The Mail-Bomber - Unsolved Questions
Four dead and fifteen injured - that was the final toll of the worst political crime in Austria's history. For four years mail bomber Franz Fuchs kept the police at bay, before he was finally arrested by accident at a routine roadside police check in which he detonated a bomb and lost both of his hands. Despite Franz Fuchs' conviction on all charges, theories have persisted for years that others were involved behind the scenes in the 1993-1997 mail bombing campaign as accomplices or assistants. Many questions relating to the mail bombings remain unexplained. Right up until his suicide in jail, Franz Fuchs never divulged important details of the crime.
Emperor Franz Joseph and World War I
After the assassination of the heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo on June 28th 1914, emperor Franz Joseph signed the declaration of war against Serbia. Misled by the military and political forces, the 84 year old monarch provoked an apocalypse. Initially the offensive was intended to be limited by territory and time. However, it ended in one of the vastest mass mortality in human history. The film shows the first 3 years of war, from 1914 until the death of Emperor Franz Joseph, husband of the popular Empress Sissy, in November 1916 analyzing the background, motives and mechanisms of a war that was fought not only for political and military dominance but also for the «salvation of the occident». A battle between East and West, between Germanic and Slavs.
Land of Masterminds
Austria has much more to offer than Mozart and Red Bull. Some of the world's best known inventions come from the small alpine country in the heart of Europe.
No European event in either war or peace took place without the participation of this dynasty, no controversy between east and west arose in which they were not involved. Thus, the history of Europe can also be told as the family history of the Habsburgs. The documentary by Brigitte Vacha and Alois Hawlik sets out to show the historical facts and an up-to-date interpretation in twelve sequels.
She was one man's muse. For others, this musician and composer was a sex-obsessed monster, and for some she was both. The painter Gustav Klimt secretly kissed her when she was just seventeen. She had a love affair with the composer Alexander von Zemlinsky only to end up marrying the considerably older Gustav Mahler. During her marriage to Mahler she had an affair with the Walter Gropius, who she married after the death of Mahler, and a passionate fling with the painter Oskar Kokoschka. After her divorce, she married the writer Franz Werfel. The film shows the turbulent life of Alma incorporating interviews with contemporaries, experts and archive material. In the center of it all stands the myth and profane reality of a legendary «femme fatale».
Also available in 1x90 min.
Leaving for Bread and Butter
In the difficult years following the Second World War, around half of all Austrian children were undernourished. In response to this, a number of different organisations set up programs, in which so called "Butterkinder" (butter children) were sent abroad for a few months to put on weight. Many of the little Austrians were taken in by host families in countries that, only a few years before, had been under occupation by Nazi Germany. From these short stays abroad, long standing friendships were formed, some of which continue up until today or have even been passed on to the next generation. Former Butterkinder still hold reunions, which are also attended by children from former host families.
Alois Hawlik accompanied some Butterkinder on a journey to Spain and Belgium and spoke with their host families. In the film he explores this early act of European solidarity, the influence of which continues to be felt across the continent.
King Without a Crown - Basso Star René Pape
His genre not only encompasses the great Wagner roles but also includes young roles with sex-appeal, from Don Giovanni to Escamillo. The documentary shows the balancing act between the star and the private person René Pape in portraying the singer in the thrilling world of opera with all its joys and tensions and in his everyday life. The opera-singer as jet-setter traveling from one country to another. On the tour accompanying René Pape from Berlin to Dresden, Madrid, Paris, Salzburg and Vienna we meet artists like Daniel Barenboim and Placido Domingo. In 2002 he was nominated "Singer of the Year" in the United States.
The First Bite - A Cultural History of the Apple
Like wine, bread and oil, the apple is one of the essential foods embedded in myths and legends. It also stands as the classic fruit of immortality, seduction, love and eroticism. The documentary follows the path of the apple throughout the different cultures up to today - all the way from biblical paradise to becoming the symbol of the world's most fascinating city, New York.
The Man On The Balcony
Of the 15,000 children that were brought to this «forecourt» of extermination only around 200 survived, including him. In this film, Rudolf Gelbard returns to the places of his childhood, which he acquaints with feelings of hope and painful experiences: from numerous humiliations he was forced to endure to the November pogrom he witnessed in 1938.
Seiji Ozawa - Maestro, Teacher, Student
Seiji Ozawa guides the artistic fate of one of the most renowned opera houses in the world as musical director of the Vienna State Opera for five years. To do this, Ozawa ended his more than 30 year involvement with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood festival. The film also shows Ozawa away from his work, for example in his house in Tokyo, in which a TV team was welcomed for the first time, or on the ski slopes.
The Vampire Princess
An aristocratic demon hunting for human blood, who strikes unsuspecting mortals at night - everyone knows the grim story of Count Dracula. Now scientists can reveal the truth: the vampire story as we know it isn't modelled on a medieval count from Transylvania but on the fate of a Bohemian princess from the early 18th century. She suffered from an allergy to light and could only leave her living quarters secretly at night. As a terrible fear of vampires swept central Europe at that time the people of a small village went into hysterics and committed a horrible crime. This documentary traces the origins of all the vampire myths by uncovering a gruesome murder.
Natascha Kampusch - One Year After Her Escape
The whole world was glued to the television as Natascha Kampusch presented herself to the public after 8 years of imprisonment in a dungeon of an insane. On the occasion of the first anniversary of her escape, ORF presents the new life of Natascha Kampusch. In an all-new interview on her very first holiday in Barcelona Natascha talks about her lately found freedom, her everyday life as well as how she deals with the past and which dreams she has for her future. A fascinating young woman, who tries to accept her destiny struggling to find her very own place in this world.
The Babenberg World
Under the Babenbergs the "Empire in the East" became a land in the centre - Austria became a territory in the heart of Europe. The Babenbergs reigned 270 years, from 976 to 1246. An epoch that reaches far back into the past, a distant mirror in which various worlds become visible: the great world of emperors and popes, of knights and feudal lords - and the small world of the peasants, monks and merchants; that of the European continent with its western national states - and the little Austria, a vaguely defined territory at first which would one day develop into the duchy of Austria of the Babenbergs and finally the multi-ethnic empire of the Hapsburgs. However, in its present dimensions, the Republic of Austria has more in common with the Babenberg realm than with the Hapsburg empire. Today there is a lot of talk of "politics tailored to need". The Babenbergs were involved in the worlds political events of their day, in the power struggle between the emperor and the pope, in the religious quarrels between Rome and Byzantium - and they took part in crusades. In any case, they used this space and proved that it pays to invest in Austria. In a roundabout way, Austria became what it is today. The Babenbergs laid the foundation.
Carnuntum - Metropolis in the Land of the Barbarians
According to accounts by the Roman historian Paterculus, in the year 6 A.D. a Roman army under Tiberius put up its winter camp in the Celtic Noricum.According to accounts by the Roman historian Paterculus, in the year 6 A.D. a Roman army under Tiberius put up its winter camp in the Celtic Noricum. The exact site was called Carnuntum, and it was the moment of birth of a legendary Roman metropolis upon the Danube «in the land of the Barbarians», built as a bastion against invaders from the North.Two thousand years later, this lavish documentary drama by multiaward winning producer Kurt Mündl portrays the history of and life in ancient Carnuntum.
Shanghai - The Port of Last Resort
In the years 1938-1941 nearly 20,000 European Jewish refugees fled to Shanghai, a free port that did not require papers for entry. Shanghai became the «last resort» to find a safe haven from the Nazis. This lost world and the story of survival is revealed through uncommon views of Chinese life and the memories of four survivors as well as through a collage of rare and remarkable film footage.
Viva Freud - Argentina: A Bastion of Psychoanalysis
Nowhere else there are so many practicing psychotherapists or is the "father of psychoanalysis" so omnipresent in all aspects of daily life. The documentary "Viva Freud" delves into Argentine daily life and history in search of an explanation for the immense influence exerted by Freud, admired by many Argentines as a revolutionary hero today.
Sigmund Freud is one of the most important personalities of the 20th century and has not only left his imprint on psychology, his very own field of knowledge, but also on of science and cultural and intellectual history; indeed, he has shaped the twentieth century altogether. Otto Brusatti's film takes us to Vienna, New York, Rome, Paris and London and shows not only previously unknown material about Freud's life and environment but also takes a cautious look on Freud's doctrine.
Activated by the seizure of two Schiele pictures from the Leopold Collection after an exhibition in New York in early 1998, the Republic decided to sort things out once and for all and give the stolen art from the Nazi and postwar period back to the owners and their heirs. In the autumn of 1998 a law was passed to regulate the return. The investigations started, but the work of clearing up the situation still has a long way to go. Many of the lawful owners have yet to be found. In the case of the famous Rothschild Collection the investigations were pushed ahead by the Kantor family with varying results; the battle with the authorities has been going on for 30 years. The film "Art Robbery," follows the tracks left by the art objects, efforts to decide who the rightful owners are and the restitution to the owners or heirs, many of whom now live in foreign countries. What were the Republic of Austria's reasons for blocking a generous return before this time and what is being done to make up for the omissions of the last 50 years?
The Entertainer - David Pountney
David Pountney is determined to link an artistically demanding opera with the aspirations of the public at large - which he has achieved to the fullest in the productions he has been staging over the past few years at Bregenzs Seebühne ("Nabucco" or "Fidelio", for example). For the first time David Pountney, so far not featured in any TV portrait of significance, provides insight into his work and life.
Viktor Frankl - In Search of Meaning
Reaching cult status up to this day, particularly among young people, Frankl - Viennese Jew, neurologist and philosopher - survived four Nazi concentration camps. He has made history as a great conciliator. He is renowned world-wide for his famous book "Man's Search for Meaning", which he wrote while being imprisoned in a death camp. The logotherapy which he established is applied everywhere from Japan to the United States.
New World - A Journey through Central Europe
The film is a richly photographed journey through old and new worlds across much of Central Europe, with lands known as Bohemia, Transylvania, Dalmatia, Galicia and many more. Through music, stories, anecdotes and legends, turn-of-the-century guidebooks and newspaper clippings, scenes from today, and films and photographs from the early 1900s a collage emerges of real people struggling, surviving, and living their lives between the worlds of tradition, change and upheaval.
Erik(a) - The Man who became Women's World Downhill Champion
Raised as a girl in a small town in the Austrian Alps and celebrated as the Women's Downhill Champion in Portillo, Chile in 1966, Erika Schinegger's career comes to an abrupt halt just before the Winter Olympics of 1967. The results of a newly instituted gender check cause an international sensation by pronouncing her a biological man. Disregarding the vehement disapproval of her family and the National Ski Federation, Erika elects to undergo gender completion surgery and assume what she feels to be her true identity. After the operation at 20 years of age, Erik begins learning to be a man. Seven years later, he is happily married and the father of a daughter, Claire. The film tells of the narrowness that plays out behind the scenes of peak performance sports like the women's downhill - and the uphill battle of one person, who found the way to himself, in spite of it.
The Austrian National Library
With its 6.5 million printed works and other objects, it is the biggest library in the country. However, its international rank is not based on quantity but on the quality of its 10 special collections. As the "nation's memory", it has become far more than a mere museum today and now fulfills all the functions of a big modern library. This means it also has to keep up with today's rapid technical developments. For instance, the picture archive is accessible online worldwide since the beginning of the year 2001. The documentary shows the library's most precious objects and tells the story of its founding, but it also examines its current services, which approximately a half million people make use of every year.
This film takes a look at the various ways poisons have been used throughout history, using dramatic reconstructions of some of the most infamous poisonings. But the film doesn't stop there. Using advanced computer animation, we travel inside the bodies of a victim of the Borgias, as well as Cleopatra, Hannibal, Socrates, Emperor Leopold and a host of other unfortunate victims, to witness from the inside how they died. The film follows humanity's macabre search over thousands of years for the perfect poison. A poisoner needs a poison that is tasteless and colorless, and therefore won't be noticed by the victim. It needs to work in low doses, so a poisoner doesn't have to feed his victim large quantities. And it needs to be reliably and quickly lethal. Finally, it needs to be undetectable after the event, so the poisoner leaves no trail of guilt. In fact, for preference it should mimic the symptoms of a disease, so no-one even suspects poisoning. Not surprisingly, such a perfect poison is not easy to find or make, and the search has occupied some of humanity's finest minds.
Orhan Pamuk - My Istanbul
Charges of «Insulting Turkishness» were finally dropped against him in January 2006 and recently, during the arrest of some Turkish right wing nationalists, his name was discovered on a list of assassination targets. Despite this, his love for the city of his birth, Istanbul, remains undiminished. In this film the author explains his heartfelt relationship to Istanbul, a city which, more than any other, spans the divide between modern Europe and mystical traditions of the Orient. He gives exclusive insights into his life and work and leads us through the vibrant and culturally flourishing metropolis on the Bosporus.
Biljana Srbljanovic - My Belgrade
Petros Markaris - My Athens
Pope Benedict XVI - My Vatican
Vaclav Havel - My Prague
Veit Heinichen - My Trieste
Ian Rankin - My Edinburgh
Chief Bapak Jali and his tribe live in Jiwika at the edge of the jungle. He is an efficient, likeable fellow who preserves the holy traditions of his ancestors without neglecting modern times. In numerous interviews, the members of this tribe talk about their lives, their longings and their future. The 80-year-old Hani has a vivid memory of bloody fights against the cannibals and of droning iron birds plunging down from the sky.The presence is not very romantic. Hard work on the fields, poor harvests and cold nights determine the day of Jalis. Moreover Irian Jaya being rich in mineral resources, Indonesians plan to make the Danis leave as soon as possible. A continuously smouldering guerrilla fight has led to fierce atrocities and dozens of causalities in recent. In spite of all difficulties, Natalies, the youngest son of Bapak Jali, is fighting to save his village and to preserve the future of his tribe.
Genghis Khan - Rider of the Apocalypse
Genghis Khan, ruthless leader of the Mongols and sovereign over the vastest empire ever ruled by a single man, was both god and devil - not just in the Middle Ages, but for centuries to come. Luxurious historical reconstructions, cleverly enhanced with state-of-the-art CGI and compos iting techniques, make up the flesh of this program. The bone will be serious, yet exciting sci ence - not only archaeology at scenic ancient sites but also the tracing of living modern remnants of the ancient Mongol culture.
Keyserling - Knowledge and Sense
Surprisingly, he never received any public acknowledgement during his lifetime. He spent many years of his life in India and was one of the first European philosophers who incorporated rites and rituals of other cultures into his own holistic school of thinking.The portrait combines old, recently recovered material of Keyserling with new footage and accompanies him up to his sudden death during the shooting of the documentary.
Franz Ringel - The Decent Painter
Loaded with sexuality, violence and pain, disfigured and illuminated by an explosion of colour, his figurative works and portraits were considered by many to be offensive and obscene. Although collectors of the time were forced to hide his paintings away in attics, today Franz Ringel is recognised as one of the giants of contemporary painting. Galleries, private collectors and museums are all eager to snap up his work. This documentary tries to find the person behind the pictures. What does Ringel love and what does he hate; what is and isn't to his taste? A conversation, a monologue, a collection of thoughts about sexuality, alcohol, colour, pain, love, travel and coming home.
Even as a student Guevara crossed the entire subcontinent. Everywhere he went, he was confronted with the apparently insurmountable barriers between rich and poor. At Fidel Castros side, he became the most important commander of the Cuban revolution. His attempt to spread the revolution of Bolivia across all of South America failed: he was murdered with the help of the CIA. The documentary tries to show the human and the revolutionary, Guevara, in the context of the political enthusiasm of that time. Friends, simple peasants and co-fighters in Bolivia and Cuba express their opinions at the sites of the victories, the defeat and of death in the little mountain village of La Higuera. Afterwards there is an exclusive conversation with Régis Debray, the theoretician and the brains behind the "theory of guerlilla focus". He foght together with Guevara during the last few months and was imprisoned by the dictatorship in Bolivia for a long time. + 15 min. conversation with Régis Debray
Triumph and Tragedy - The Hungarian Revolution 1956
Yet it destroyed the Communist regime within days. Secret documents now accessible reveal the confusion, fear and split within the party leadership in Budapest and Moscow, the fateful decisions about two Soviet military interventions, the betrayal of the Imre Nagy Government by the West and by the Tito regime in neighbouring Yugoslavia. The main actors of the documentary are the still living freedom and resistance fighters in Hungary with the international background highlighted by exclusive interviews with the former KGB-Chief General Vladimir Kriuchkov and the longterm Russian Ambassador Valery Musatov as well as with the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.
Forced Labour! - Fighting for Survival
On March 7, 1943 young painter Philibert Charrin was deported to the Austrian labour camp St. Marein. Charrin, who is now 86 years old, continues to suffer from these traumatic memories and remembers with horror those years of longing, homesickness and indignity. This touching film examines the fate of Philibert Charrin as well as other survivors and their families who were left to deal with their traumata on their own once they returned home.
The Dark Remains
The film shows the criminal activities of the National Socialist regime: persecution and holocaust. One important place where this was practiced was the Austrian concentration camp Mauthausen. Two victims are the director of the Jewish Documentation Centre in Vienna, Simon Wiesenthal, and the Dutch author, Charlotta Marchand. The film also refers to the fate of an Austrian family whose sons were sent to hero's death; the biologically motivated murder of the disabled in Schloss Hartheim; not least the theft of Jewish wealth. There is a reminder of the complicity in the enthusiasm of the masses and the final question: could this happen again?
Restless Peaks - The Birth of the Alps
The history of the development of the most powerful mountain range in Europe that attracts more than 45 million tourists every year was not well researched until fairly recently. Using lavish computer animation, this production relates the astonishing genesis of the Alps - the slow, gigantic transformation from an ancient land-locked sea into one of the most majestic mountainous regions of the earth.
Of Graves and Robbers - The Sell-out of Peruvian History
The arid sand deserts of Peru have been preserving mummies and burial artefacts over many millennia. Recent excavations such as the royal burial chambers of Sipán and the 220 mummies found at the Lake of Condors produced a scientific sensation comparable only to the discovery of the Egyptian tombs. Starting out from these finds, the movie goes in hot pursuit of what happens at and around the excavation sites of Peru. On the one hand there's Peruvian archaeologist Sonia Guillen, who has dedicated her life to the proper scientific investigation of her country's heritage. Her efforts are frequently frustrated by grave looters: entire villages make their living by digging up ancient burying places to get at artefacts which earn the huaceros a few dollars but which bring enormous wealth to international smuggling networks. Quite often it is the grave robbers who put scientists on the tracks of new discoveries - yet every devastated site is another irredeemable loss of our heritage. The documentary illuminates the criminal entanglements of the international antique market and follows the famous FBI art cops in reconstructing the spectacular robbery of one of the most
Nelson Mandela - A Life for Freedom
ORF-Enterprise is presenting this freshly-updated documentary about Nelson Mandela's life. Born into the royal family of the South African Xhosa people, but without any chance of claiming the throne, the young Nelson Mandela sought his fortune in Johannesburg. With racial segregation becoming more and more infl exible, he got involved with the resistance and in 1964 was sentenced to life imprisonment. Stripped of his identity and reduced to a number, Mandela spent the next 27 years in jail before he was fi nally released in February 1990: The beginning of a triumphant return culminating in the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and, a year later, the South African presidency. This documentary gives us a portrait of a man, who, more than any other, has become a shining light in the Dark Continent and, ultimately, a modern PR phenomenon.
The Gods of Menorca
Witnesses of this epoch are the more than 1,000 prehistoric structures found crowded together on the island: the Talayots, eight-meter high watch-towers, that were the seat of the chieftain and the place of the death cult; Navetas that look like ships lying on their bellies but which also provided the last resting places for princes and even seafarers. Scientists today still puzzle over their meaning.
Days of Terror
On December 21st 1975 the world witnessed the most spectacular terror attack of the decade. A six-member terror squad under the command of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, also known as «Carlos», stormed the OPEC building in Vienna taking seventy hostages, including the Oil Ministers of the OPEC countries. This documentary retraces the dramatic hours claiming three victims and its aftermath by reports of eyewitnesses and reenactments.
On the Road with Daniel Spoerri - Nouveau Realisme on the Move
Born in Galati, Romania in the 1930s, Spoerri´s travels have taken him to Switzerland, Germany, France, America, Italy, and finally - at the age of 76 - to Austria, in what he claims will be the last move of his life. The film follows this final relocation, from Lostallo, in the Italian speaking region of Switzerland, to Vienna. The personal belongings of this universal genius offer us a way of understanding his work. Objects that might well be described by a customs official as junk are loaded onto a truck and transported to Austria. The film ostensibly shows an insignificant relocation from A to B, but develops along the way into a vivid examination of art and life.
Bricha - The Escape
After the end of World War II the suffering and persecution of Holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe was still not over. In 1946 a pogrom in Poland claimed the lives of many Jewish refugees.
This was the final straw for more than 100,000 Jews who took flight to the west. For many refugees this es cape was made possible by the secret rescue organisation «Bricha». Founded by former resistance fighters, «Bricha» took up the task of assisting fugitives to enter the west illegally so that they could start a new life. The film tells the story of «Bricha» using testimonies of members and refugees as well as newly discovered film material.
World's Best Female Mountaineer
Now, she is on the Way to be the first woman to have conquered all of the world's 8000 metre peaks. This exclusive portrait delivers an intimate view of one of the world's best mountaineers, explaining her rigid training methods and showing film clips from the successful Broad Peak ascent as well as from the failed K2 expedition. Experience first hand what it takes to empathise with everyday life under extreme conditions!
Freud's Lost Neighbours
This film traces the history of Sigmund Freud's neighbours from 1938 to today starting off at his former home at Berggasse 19 and depicting the routes which were used in the course of «Aryani za tion» right under the eyes of the Viennese people. Berggasse 19 be came a point of remembrance to overcome the «repression» of war, a concept first described by Freud himself.
Hildegard Burjan - Charity Pioneer
In a time of political dislocation and the beginning of National Socialism, of crisis and misery, she founded the religious congregation «Caritas Socialis» and dedicated herself to advocating the rights of women, fighting poverty and child labour. Born in Germany, she studied philosophy in Zurich before moving to Vienna with her Hungarian husband, where she became the leading female political figure of the post war period demolishing the traditions of that time. Using elaborately filmed scenes and numerous interviews, this documentary tells the moving life story of this fascinating woman, who has become a symbol of emancipation and altruism and is now on the verge of being beatified.
Resistance to Hitler
Most of them were forced to pay with their lives for their acts of courage. Those that survived remained silent about their experiences for decades, fearing ostracism or being called a traitor and a coward after the war had ended.
Christiaan Barnard transplanted the first heart in 1967. Pictures of Barnard were circulated in the world's press, and so did his numerous love affairs. In an exclusive portrait, Rose Kern shows the late surgeon's world: his parents' house at Beaufort West, where his father did missionary work for the coloured population, his animal husbandry farm right in the heart of South Africa, and Cape Town, the city where he staged his medical triumphs.
A Travelling Couch
60 years after his death and 100 years after the appearance of "The Interpretation of Dreams," the life and work of Austrian researchers, scientists, cultural theoreticians and psychoanalysts have been put up for renewed discussion in the most extensive exhibition that has ever been shown. The "couch," the symbol of psychoanalysis, has gone on a trip for the first time. Its stopovers are Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Vienna, Brazil, etc. The path of psychoanalysis is followed in a popular and scientific discussion, which results in controversial positions on expulsion (Freud emigrated to London) and the establishment of his theories, especially in the USA.
Subhumans - Pursued, Deported, Exterminated
It was the Third Reich's first declaration of war. Those who didn't correspond to the Nazi ideal of Aryan supremacy were categorised as subhuman and pursued, tortured and murdered. This documentary focuses on the dual racial ideology of National Socialism and shows the method and perfidious perfection of its extermination machine, while also telling the stories of the suffering of its victims.
Princely Treasures - The Liechtenstein Saga
The Lichtenstein family, one of Europe's last great royal dynasties, is brought to life with help from the House's world famous private art collection. The famous paintings of Rubens and Belotto are turned into a three-dimensional experience, so that the viewer feels almost a part of the interplay between farmers and bankers, between reasons of state and a Baroque lust for life. In addition to depicting personal stories and important moments in European history, Prince Hans Adam II gives exclusive insights into the life of his family.
Johann Strauss the Elder - Life is a Dance
Johann Strauss the Elder, one of the original fathers of the Vienna Waltz, celebrated his 200th anniversary in March 2004. He was the genius of music to revolutionize 19th century light music in collaboration with Josef Lanner, leaving thus an imprint on the spirit of the Biedermeier period. Nobody would have guessed at that time that Strauss the Elder was later to stand in the shadow of his son: After all, also Strauss the Elder and his own orchestra swept a massive audience away in standing ovations.
The History of Writing
This documentary demonstrates the impact the invention of writing has had on mankind, analyses the current changes in the multimedia age, and includes interviews with the worlds foremost media experts. The fascinating history of writing comprises our physical and spiritual world... a world as it was, as it is now and as it will be in the near future.
First Flight is a visually innovative film showing the unbelievable things that animals can do in the air. Key moments in aviation history will be reconstructed using live action combined with CGI. These will be combined with equivalent stories from the world of insects, birds or bats. For example, by combining live action and CGI, we can follow the extraordinary journey of a monarch butterfly across the North Atlantic to Europe, set against the Atlantic crossing made by Alcock and Brown in 1999. With dramatic computer animation and 3-D "blueprint" designs, the film compares the success of animals with that of humans. Coincidentally - the Wright brothers first design flew exactly like an insect, with wing-warping movements to control direction. Only recently we have begun to understand how exactly insects fly. How does a butterfly change direction by 180 degrees with one wingbeat? How does a hoverfly hold station in mid-air to a precision of a millimetre in a stiff breez? How can an albatross circumnavigate the globe each year with barely a flap of its wings. The main visual impact from the natural history footage will come from stunning slow motion flight shots of insects, birds and bats. In particular, technology is being developed to reveal insect flight in new and dramatic ways. High speed motion control rigs will be built that will allow the camera to spin around insects in flight. And gyroscopic mounts attached to the camera will allow us to film insects in such a way as to mimic free flight. The end result will be stunning never-before-seen images of insects in flight, and a film with the equivalent impact to Stephen Daltons classic, Bourne on the wind.
In a similar fashion in the thirties in Vienna, Franciscan padre Cyrill Fischer fought against nationalist socialist ideas, promoting an understanding between Christians and Jews, even though the official position of the Austrian Catholic Church was more than diffuse. This documentary tells the moving stories of Irene Harand and Cyrill Fischer, how back in the late twenties they managed to unveil the true character of national socialism in their devastating political analyses, how they fought against the threat risking their lives, and how they have passed into oblivion since the War ended.
The Ice Trap - The Tegetthoff's Arctic Odyssey
The «Franz Josef Land» archipelago was discovered in 1873 by an Austrian polar expedition. This 90-minute special illustrates the achievements and sacrifices of the ship's 24 crew members from Istria, Dalmatia, Italy, Hungary, Bohemia and Austria. Trapped in the ice, the Tegetthoff drifted northward, farther north than any human being had ever ventured before. Captain Carl Weyprecht's decision to abandon the doomed ship and begin the long trek over the pack-ice back through Siberia led to one of the most spectacular achievements of a team in international polar history.
In spite of many obstructions and misunderstandings on both sides, the film-team, led by producer Carl Szokoll and director Helmut Käutner, succeeded to finish "The Last Bridge" (Die letzte Brücke) and won the "Prix International" at the Festival in Cannes 1954. "Bridging Minds" is a painstakingly researched film-study containing detailed scenic excerpts from the film and portrays the surviving participants who evoke their memories of the unique, almost revolutionary production.
Elisabeth - Enigma of an Empress
Sisi has become an ultimate art figure, a construct that completely omits the controversial persona behind an Empress against her own will. In a wholly unvarnished way, this lavish documentary project is now to shed light on a distinctive era in European history. Elisabeths bio mirrors the social change marking 19th century Europe: nationalism, liberalism, parliamentarianism, movements of liberation. Her rebellion against the conventions of the court, her obsession with her body, her journeys across Europe, her escape into a world of dreams, her poetry and love of art provided fertile ground for all the legends unfolding around Sisi, which culminated in her assassination in Geneva in 1898. For sure, a remake of reality is more exciting than cliché and myth.
Death at Dawn - The Emperor's Last Battleship
Premuda, June 10th, 1918 6:05 am: The Szent Istvan is sinking. The most modern battleship of the K.u.K. fleet has been hit by two torpedoes on its maiden voyage. A camera team aboard the Tegetthoff was sent out to film the first deployment of the new battleship. The planned scenes of celebration would instead become a one of a kind documentation of a horrific event. Their original footage forms the basis of this documentary, which recreates and analyses the tragedy. Historical reenactments, filmed on historic ships in Rostock and Athens, help define the atmosphere of the film. Using 3D animation and a diving expedition to the wreck of the Szent Istvan off the coast of Croatia, the filmmakers attempt to resolve the last mysteries of the ship's destruction.
The Alexandria Library
Founded by Ptolemy I. in 288 B.C., scholars, intellectuals and scientists from ancient Greece, Egypt and Asia there found a place to research as well as a possibility to debate over their findings. With a collection of more than 700.000 papyrus scrolls, the Alexandria library was the largest of its time. More than once wars and assaults battered the library, only to see it being destroyed completely in later days. Inspired by the old spirit as well as by the idea of intercultural dialogue, the exchange of ideas of great minds, cultures and civilisations, the library has been resurrected in cooperation with UNESCO and has reopened its doors in 2002.
Torn Between Art and Passion - Confessions of Alfred Hrdlicka
Indeed, Alfred Hrdlicka has never lived alone throughout his entire life - and the virtuosity he displays in shaping his complex love affairs has a lasting effect on his creative work. In 1999, his mistress and muse of many years, Flora, committed suicide. To this day, Hrdlicka fails to understand the reason why. He feels guilty, falls into depression and suffers from a creative crisis. In a final attempt, he deals with his emotions and memories by writing a book, confronting a TV camera in the process.
The Kampusch Case
In 1998 on her way to school, 10-year-old Natascha Kampusch is abducted by Wolfgang Priklopil, imprisoned and isolated for more than eight years. After years of presumed dead she finally manages to escape from the hands of her tormentor in 2006. Piece by piece, this documentary reconstructs this hideous crime and provides answers to questions left open. How did this event affect Natascha Kampusch psychologically? What kind of pressures did Priklopil apply to prevent his victim from escaping? How does the young woman manage her way back into normal life today?
Arctic Northeast - Franz Joseph Land
They were only partly successful, their ship trapped in polar ice had to be abandoned but they discovered the Arctic archipelago "Franz Joseph Land" named after the Austro-Hungarian emperor. Tales and reconstructions of the gripping and adventurous historic expedition serve as a thread which provides the viewer with scenes of a previously unaccessible area of the Russian Arctic showing the beauty of the arctic flora and fauna.
Born in Romania, he arrived in Austria as a political refugee in 1959. Starting out as an extra, he worked his way up to become a singer. He eventually joined a theater agency in the mid-sixties, which he transformed into a leading European opera agency in just a few years. It was Eberhard Waechter who hired him to work for the Vienna Staatsoper, the direction of which he assumed after Waechters death. Over the years, he reaffirmed its leading role on the international opera scene.
Hungary's Desire for Freedom
Over the course of many months, the young cameraman witnesses historic events in Hungary and Austria, all the while documenting the unique developments unfolding in front of him.Through Fox Enterprises, Otto Pammer's reports are being aired all over the world, therefore shaping the international perception of both the Hungarian Uprising and the refugees' fate. The documetary shows the circumstances under which Pammer produced his historic reports as well as a background about the man himself.
The Treasury - Vienna's Natural History Museum
For the world famous newspaper, the «Sunday Times», an English team of museum specialists determined the ten best museums of this world - Austria's Natural History Museum of Vienna was within the top ten. Without a doubt, it holds a unique position within the museums of the world. Vienna's Natural History Museum is a collection of natural treasures - from meteorites to stone age artefacts, from dinosaur bones to fossils trapped in amber. But how did these jewels find their way into this temple of knowledge? Every piece has its own story which leads out of the museum into the remotest corners of the world - and beyond. For the first time, this documentary will unfold the history of this traditional Viennese museum as well as explore the museum's contribution to science across the world.
The Wild and the West
The real nature of the western: Why is it that other rivers always act as the double for the Rio Bravo, vultures have never gotten beyond being extras, and that scorpions always climb into the hero´s boots?
For the past one-hundred years westerns have awoken a longing for real adventure and for the big «undiscovered country»- and they've been so successful that most people it's easy to picture the Wild West: Dust blowing through the prominent rock formations of Monument Valley. Endless deserts which test the endurance of righteous men and provide a perfect hiding place for outlaws. Rapid rivers, on the other side of which, a new and better life awaits.
But what 'westerns' tell us about the west is only a part of the story and most of the time it's just fiction - especially the landscape and the wildlife. In the Wild West, it's only a day's ride from the desert to the river, whereas in reality the landscapes are often thousands of miles apart. Not only did they use riders to double for actors they also used bogus rivers to double for the real thing. The famous Rio Bravo is mentioned in the title of more than a hundred westerns, but it's so dried up that in a western it's normally replaced by the Colorado or the San Juan River.
In »Wild is the West«, the man with no name is the wise old man of the west. Nothing is strange to him: From the cavalry, whose legend is bigger than reality, to the myths of the relentless burning hot desert. He proves (at least on celluloid) that it's possible to kill and roast a turkey within five seconds. The famous »man without a name«, hero of countless westerns from the 60´s and 70´s changes genre for this documentary film: He rides through 'Western country' and talks about his life as a professional hero, about the fantasy of the director and about some of the unusual animals and plants that he's encountered in the course of his career. In this documentary, the American actor, Joe Dimmick, plays the role of the Man without a name. He has been the number one double for Clint Eastwood for more than thirty years and is a hopeless romantic, «Can you feel it yet, the feeling to leave everything behind and ride into the sunset? I'll tell you one thing, «If you really want to, you can find the good old West everywhere.»