SynopsisFrucade or advocaat?, was heavyweight Hermes Phettberg’s ritual opening question in the "Nette Leit" cult show which was broadcast daily on Austrian television in the 1990s, when they still dared to let loose on humanity an openly gay sadomasochistic provocateur. Today Phettberg is Austria’s most prominent welfare recipient and constantly in and out of hospitals with an impressive list of strokes, bladder weakness and a heart attack. He shuffles ponderously, humpbacked and 100 kilos lighter through his messy flat. His body may be nothing but a "funeral pyre" and he has trouble speaking, but his brain still works rapidly. The rhythm of his speech, starting over again and again and full of delays, now evokes Thomas Bernhard’s hallowed diction. Sobo Swobodnik observes Phettberg in the drab lowlands of his everyday life, a man whose body has ceased to obey him. The lonely hours belong to his diary, which he puts online every day. The former "total work of art" mutates into a modern martyr about to break under his own and the world’s weight but still full of messages. A marginal existence who once managed to entertain the people but now pays the price for his addictions and sublimations. Swobodnik depicts this state of uncertainty between wanting to live and having to die in a striking and radical passion play in black and white.
by Cornelia Klauss / DOK Leipzig catalogue
Kinoverleih Stadtkino Wien
1070 Vienna, Austria
tel.: +49 (0) 1 5224814
fax: +49 (0) 1 5224815