MUTZENBACHER

  • Ruth Beckermann
  • Austria
  • 2022

Several men respond to a broad casting call by filmmaker Ruth Beckermann, who is looking for men between the ages of 16 and 99 for the film adaptation of the controversial Austrian erotic novel Josefine Mutzenbacher oder Die Geschichte einer Wienerischen Dirne, which was published anonymously at the beginning of the 20th century, was until recently still on the list of writings harmful to minors and was long believed to be by Felix Salten, the author of Bambi.

These men read aloud, sing, act (some more unabashedly than others) passages with explicit sexual content, often embodying the female character, while the director asks penetrating questions about the feelings and memories these texts evoke in them. Some auditions take place individually, others in groups, but the majority in pairs, and the result of these interactions brings out another layer of meaning in the film. Surprisingly, this method allows most participants to talk openly and frankly about intimacy, sexual fantasies, taboos or toxic masculinity. It is also interesting to observe when this openness and vulnerability proves uncomfortable.

This thought-provoking deconstruction of the concept of masculinity represents an unexpected turn in Ruth Beckermann's work, which is usually associated with a more open political debate. Susana S. Rodrigues

  • Ruth Beckermann

    Ruth Beckermann is a filmmaker and author living in Vienna. Her films include Die papierene Brücke, Jenseits des Krieges and American Passages. Her film Those who go Those who stay received the Grand Documentary Film Award at the Diagonale in Graz in 2014. Two years later, Die Geträumten was also awarded Best Feature Film at the same event. Waldheims Walzer received several awards, including the Glashütte Prize for Best Documentary at the 2018 Berlinale, as well as a nomination for the Oscars. In 2019, Ruth Beckermann realized the installation Joyful Joyce for the Salzburg Festival.

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