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“I had to cry too”

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Five years ago he was suddenly there and conquered Austria’s cinema audience out of nowhere. With his debut film “The best of all worlds” (2017), Adrian Goiginger from Salzburg submitted a declaration of love to his drug-addicted mother. This work did not show any reckoning, but revealed how deeply unconditional affection can touch when told about it without judgment.

This week starts with “The Fox” the third directorial work by the 31-year-old, which has the potential to continue the power that the father of two small children unleashed at the time. The work, which celebrates its federal state premiere on Wednesday at an OÖN film night, works through the story that made Goiginger’s great-grandfather Franz Streitberger what he was: a boy with an unimaginably hard childhood and youth who became a man, “who revealed his feelings not in dialogue but through looks, for whom relationships with people were not as important as close relationships with animals”says Goiginger in the OÖN conversation.

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Is that why he is looking for material in his family environment because he can feel and process it best himself? “No, there is no calculation behind it.” Rather, it is the case that the stories come to him and trigger the urge to tell them at least once. For “The best of all worlds” did he “researched unconsciously at the age of six or seven”he says and laughs.

Adrian Goiginger, director
Image: RTS/Imago
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At the “Fox” It was similar when, when he was about 15, his great-grandfather told him about something that was close to his heart – about his friendship with a fox that he found as a puppy as a young motorcycle courier in World War II, adopted and carried with him for a year .

In the fictionalized film “The Fox” Goiginger connects this relationship with a terrible loss of the boy Franz Streitberger. “He was given away when he was seven.” His parents, mountain farmers, could not feed the youngest and bring him through the winter. Until he went into the army, he was a servant.

“How can you process something like that? Can you ever do that? These questions fascinated me. And I think my great-grandfather tried that through his friendship with the fox.” In comparison, he himself has it “just had it so much easier”. In “The Fox” it is the break caused by the father (Karl Markovics) that Franz bears heavily as a young soldier in the French campaign. So is it also a film about absent fathers? “Yes, that runs through my films a bit, which may be due to the fact that I didn’t have a father myself for a long time. There was always an empty space in my life.”

Real foxes, real purrs

The scene in which the father gives the boy “violates”To ensure his survival, Goiginger moved to tears at the world premiere at the prestigious Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (Estonia). “I saw the film officially for the first time. And even though I’ve seen him a hundred times before and know him inside and out, I cried too.”

Simon Morzé (27) is convincing in the leading role. The Viennese made an extraordinary sacrifice and prepared exclusively for the film for more than two and a half years. Morzé got his motorcycle driver’s license, spent four months on a Pinzgau mountain farm to learn dialect and lifestyle, wrote a war diary in his character and completed military training with non-commissioned officers, “who, I don’t want to say, honed him, but taught him how soldiers lived back then”. And Morzé had to build up a relationship with foxes for two years. Because every time the fox is seen in the film, it is a real animal. Goiginger has a digitally created fox “never in life” given.

Social Democrat like Kreisky fan

Three baby foxes and two adult specimens were prepared for the shoot by two experienced animal trainers, who were used to the motorcycles and the actors. “The whole shoot was geared towards her, you have to accept her life and her emotions, there’s no other way.” Is the purr you hear from the fox in the film real? “Yes, foxes purr and squeak. I didn’t even know that myself.”

What Goiginger knew for sure, however, was from a more serious background – his great-grandfather’s attitude towards Hitler and the Nazis. When he was connected, he was happy like many others. “From 1940/41 he understood what a diabolical mass murderer Hitler was and turned away completely. Until his death he was a staunch social democrat and Kreisky fan.”

In years of research, Goiginger worked his way through numerous soldier diaries and increasingly recognized one thing: “The men, and I’m not talking about the officers, were interested in whether there was anything to eat, where they could sleep and whether they were warm.” Ideological issues were not what drove them, rather mere survival.

Premiere & short review

OÖN film night “The Fox”: Adrian Goiginger, Simon Morzé and others will present the film on Wed., January 11, 6.30 p.m., Moviemento Linz, Tel. 0732/78 40 90, moviemento.at
In “The Fox” (theatrical release: January 13), Goiginger exceeds his standards from “The Best of All Worlds” in terms of emotional intensity and craftsmanship. Excellent parable about the heights and harshness of unconditional love that rethinks Austria’s World War II film.

OÖN Rating:

The trailer for the film:

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