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The Ballhausplatz project begins with a series of short films

The Ballhausplatz project begins with a series of short films

Sebastian Kurz’s Summer Cinema is set to be completed as a trilogy. that’s enough! Also with word games. We still have to talk briefly about the “Ballhausplatz Project” again.

Written by Paul Pant

Before it starts: “Project Ballhausplatz,” subtitled “The Rise and Fall of Sebastian Kurz,” a film critically examining the former chancellor and his career, will be released in cinemas on Thursday, September 21, 2023. Despite all the bloodshed and PR stunts .

Another short film, now a third, will also be released on the streaming service at the same time. Croatian director Jakov Sedlar puts himself in the spotlight with the film “Sebastian Kurz – The Truth”. The film’s screenplay comes from journalist Judith Grohmann, who wrote an authorized biography of Curtis in 2019. This certainly applies to turquoise fan fiction.

Smoke bombs

“Strategically necessary nonsense” (SNU) is what Gerald Fleischmann, the ÖVP’s PR mastermind, called his strategy, which aims to undermine critical reporting. Spreading facts and creating confusion. Warp the other representations with your own spin before posting. A recipe for success from the public relations poison cabinet of political communications. Given the two films’ short-lived debut – to put it mildly – well-intentioned short films, the SNU comparison is almost inevitable.

Filming of “Kurz – Der Film” began without prior notice two weeks before the “Ballhausplatz Project”. With a meter high advertising poster next to the southeastern shadow of Vienna and the ÖVP premiere party. “Sebastian Kurz – the Truth” now premieres on Vimeo on the same day the Langbein documentary hits theaters. Both the ‘surprise’ films were reportedly financed without any assistance, the producers claim. Overall, both films together would probably cost close to a million.

However, director Curt Langbein’s film was transparently funded by the film’s finances and is said to have cost just under €600,000. Another difference from the other two short films: “Project Ballhausplatz” does not want to follow the magic of Sebastian Kurz (as “Kurz – The Film” explains in the press release), but rather dissects his politics. As a common thread, the “Geilomobile” from Sebastian Kurz’s first major election campaign is dismantled piece by piece in an auto repair shop.

Who is Sebastian Kurz?

Curt Langbein says he doesn’t want to look behind the Sebastian Kurz mask, but rather wants to show that he has always been completely separate since Gelomobile. Because we don’t even know who Sebastian Kurz actually is, “we only know the mask,” says Langbein.

The mask falls no more in “Kurz – Der Film” than in “Project Ballhausplatz”. This is remarkable because Sebastian Kurz speaks most of the time in the film’s frame and does not leave much room in his shadow. This brought the filmmakers a lot of criticism. However, Curt Langbein was not interested in Sebastian Kurz’s emotional world from the beginning. Instead, with the Ballhauplatz Project, he wanted to show how the former chancellor and a small group of his cronies managed to seize control of the Austrian People’s Party and eventually the centers of power in the republic, he explains.

“Success creates followers”

The fact that Sebastian Kurz is a master of theatrical presentation is also evident in “Kurz – The Film”. When director Sascha Kölnerreitner asserts that he managed to produce his short without any influence, and at the same time admits to rejecting turquoise politics without being asked to do so, the question arises as to whether the Master of Illusion needs influencers at all. If you allow people with great charisma to set the rules and pull the strings, the puppets will dance without any restrictions. So it’s enough to get a little excited when you get into the Geilomobile. Or as former Agriculture Secretary Elisabeth Koestinger said: “Success creates a following.”

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Scary lobster

Curt Langbein did not give in to this fascination, even saying that he did not want to sit in the Hummer while filming his documentary. Langbein says the car was scary to him. At the first gig at Gartenbau Kino sat down for an interview with FM4. Whether it was a release or not, it was the only place for a moment of peace.

As a journalist, Langbein says his goal is to show the effects of the “right-wing populist politics” of Sebastian Kurz. What this policy did to society, marginalized groups, and refugee policy. In “The Ballhausplatz Project,” a working woman has her say and complains that her job is hanging by a thread because of the childcare provided by her grandparents. Langbein faces the allegation with chat messages showing how Sebastian Kurz was said to have torpedoed a negotiated deal for free childcare throughout Austria, which appears to be outside the authority’s calculations.

Film document

The fact that Sebastian Kurz and his associates only have a say in the “Ballhausplatz Project” using archival materials is due to the turquoise boycott of the film. Still, “The Ballhausplatz Project” is a fascinating contemporary historical cinematic document, if only because of the ridiculous competition for attention. But also because at the end of history books, it is not the emotional value of those in power that are written, but always the effects of their policies on the governed.

Anyone who thought that the recent defeat in the elections for the head of the SPÖ party had brought maximum absurdity to Austrian domestic politics (for this year) has once again been proven wrong. There has never been a film trilogy by a former Austrian Chancellor. We have to hope that Sebastian Kurz’s father wasn’t a talented amateur director during Kurz’s adolescence. This would certainly have enough material for an introduction or two.

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