Cityscapes: The Vienna That Never Was
dir. Max Ophuls, France, 1950, digital, 93 mins. b/w, French w/ English subt.
Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, and Simone Simon lead a roundelay of French stars in Max Ophuls’s delightful, acerbic adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s controversial turn-of-the-century play Reigen. Soldiers, chambermaids, poets, prostitutes, aristocrats—all are on equal footing in this multi-character merry-go-round of love and infidelity, directed with a sweeping gaiety as knowingly frivolous as it is enchanting, and shot with Ophuls’s trademark mellifluous cinematography.
“The Vienna that never was, is the greatest city in the world” - Orson Welles
Vienna in the cinema has most often been represented as a fantasy based on the imperial city it was in the era of the ‘fin de siècle’, when traditional social, moral, and artistic values were all in transition. This IHP series will attempt to explore the city of Vienna as a city both real and mythic within the history of cinema.
The series ‘The Vienna That Never Was' will feature works representing the late 19th to the early 21st centuries, from the historical and romanticized images of Vienna to a noir-tinged Cold War narrative, to the present-day artistic experimentations within the avant-garde, to cinematic masterworks, to rediscoveries of old fictions and nonfictions, as well as a rich selection of newsreels, actualités, and home movies.