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De Facto

Filmstill from „De Facto" by Selma Doborac. A building with columns at the edge of a forest.
© Selma Doborac
  • Director

    Selma Doborac

  • Austria, Germany / 2023
    130 min. / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language


For her second feature-length film, director Selma Doborac turns her attention to a difficult question: How can cinema grapple with perpetrators, extreme violence, state terror and testimonies relating to these without conniving with them?

DE FACTO rejects direct representation to this end; nor is it remotely interested in re-enactment, whereby real perpetrators reproduce their crimes in front of the camera. Instead, the director works with two actors, Christoph Bach and Cornelius Obonya, places them in a pavilion in a park at a table designed by artist Heimo Zobernig and has them deliver texts in long, precisely composed shots and in isolation from one another, the out-of-frame addressees of which can be inferred. Passages from verdict statements, perpetrator statements, witness testimonies, confessions by whistleblowers and the occasional philosophical text are woven together. At times, it is almost unbearable to listen to. DE FACTO is undoubtedly challenging for viewers, but not as an end in itself; by pursuing an analytical interest, it creates possibilities for insight. (Cristina Nord)

Production Selma Doborac. Director Selma Doborac. Screenplay Selma Doborac. Cinematography Klemens Hufnagl. Editing Selma Doborac. Music Didi Kern, Philipp Quehenberger. Sound Claus Benischke-Lang. Sound mixing Jochen Jezussek. Colour correction Andi Winter. Production design Selma Doborac, objects by Heimo Zobernig and Franz West. Costumes Selma Doborac. Make-up Parnia Sarraf. Casting Ulrike Müller. Executive producer Selma Doborac. With Christoph Bach, Cornelius Obonya.

Selma Doborac was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1982, she studied mixed media art strategies as well as film art in Vienna where she lives and works as a film director and scriptwriter. Following THOSE SHOCKING SHAKING DAYS (2016), DE FACTO is her second feature-length film.

Films: 2004: K bis D. A oder B. / K to D. A or B. (12 min.). 2005: Die Abgewandte / The Abandoned (5 min.). 2006: Showtime (2 min.). 2008: Einsicht Durchsicht Aussicht / Examination Intimitation Prospect (25 min.). 2012: Es war ein Tag wie jeder andere im Frühling oder Sommer. / It was a day just like any other in spring or summer. (17 min.). 2015: Hotel Alfa Romeo Uniform November Foxtrot Alfa Romeo Oscar Charlie Kilo India (2 min.). 2016: Those Shocking Shaking Days (88 min.). 2023: De Facto.

Bonus Material

Essay on DE FACTO

  • Still from „De Facto" von Selma Doborac. A man sitting at a black table, which mirrors his face and torso. Behind him you can see bushes and trees.


    In “Litany of Atrocities” Eva Hohenberger asks who exactly is speaking in DE FACTO

Jury Statement on the Caligari Film Award

  • Filmmaker Selma Doborac with the Caligari Award

    Jury Statement

    The Jury of the German Association of Municipal and Cultural Cinemas on the Caligari Film Award 2023 for DE FACTO by Selma Doborac.

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur