PRATER, 2007

PRATER, Ulrike Ottinger, Germany/Austria 2007, DCP, OV/EnS, 107 min
Premiere of the digital restoration
Sep 8, 2021 22:00 Arsenal Cinema, from Sep 9 on arsenal 3

The life of the oldest amusement park in the world is reflected in the parallel technical and media developments of filmmaking – kaleidoscopically visualized by way of flying camera movements set to texts by Elfriede Jelinek, Josef von Sternberg, Erich Kästner, and Elias Canetti. Within the world of illusion, which connects the ferris wheel to modern attractions that launch visitors out of an ejection seat, there are moments of intimacy: While young men test their strength at the “Watschenmann”, a dancing woman forgets everything around her. Cinema, a space of contemplation, of course began as a fairground attraction. The history of Vienna’s Prater theme park and the work of Ulrike Ottinger have something in common: The world becomes a stage and the stage the world. She reports on show booths and illusion machines, but in doing so also says something about her films. Against the backdrop of dreams of travel and encyclopedic curiosity, but also colonialist imagination, Prater brings the world into its hall of mirrors.

PRATER premiered at the Berlinale Forum in 2007. The catalog page is available as PDF (download).