Playing with the Camera. Critical Notes on Two Films by Austrian Director Willi Forst
Keywords:Willi Forst, Austrian Cinema, German Cinema, Hollywood, Avant-Garde Cinema
AbstractThis essay aims to critically reflect on the work of Austrian film director Willi Forst, devoting special attention to two of Forst’s films of the 1930s, Mazurka and Allotria. Forst’s career developed successfully in both Austria and Germany between the 1930s and the end of the 1950s and Forst has been widely counted among the major figures in German-speaking cinema of the time. In scholarly works on the history of Austrian film, Forst’s name has been typically associated with the musical genre and the so-called Viennese Film, of which Forst has been regarded as the indisputable master. In this association of Forst’s work with the Viennese Film and the musical genre, long predominant among film historians, one may detect a reason for the scant consideration dedicated so far to films such as Mazurka and Allotria which, not belonging to the above genres, have been usually regarded as of minor relevance in Forst’s work. With the aim of correcting this assumption, the present essay intends to critically focus on Mazurka and Allotria, placing them within the wider context of Forst’s work. Though the two films belong to different genres, Mazurka being a melodrama, Allotria a comedy, they appear to have a significant number of points in common, and through their discussion and comparison, this essay hopes to contribute to a better understanding of Forst’s oeuvre, shedding light on a number of facets of Forst’s work to which scarse attention has been devoted so far.
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