Wilbirg Brainin-Donnenberg on „Dirndlschuld“ / interview

Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1963, she is the director of the Screenwriters Forum Vienna, a film curator and filmmaker. After studying psychology and sociology, she took a degree at the School Friedl Kubelka for Independent Film from 2016 to 2018. She worked for sixpackfilm from 1993 to 2004 and subsequently curated film programmes in Austria and abroad. She publishes books on avant-garde cinema and gender topics, including “Gustav Deutsch” (2009) with Michael Löbenstein. She lives in Vienna and is a founding and board member of the FC GLORIA women’s film network and curator of the FC GLORIA Kinosalons.

What was your starting point for “Dirndlschuld”?

It was the sudden realization, in a summer some years ago, that on Grundlsee three family histories got together, right here.

My two grandfathers, one a Nazi during the war, the other continuously threatened by the Nazis because of his Jewish descent. Then my husband’s family that had fled to England in 1938, but had vacationed in the Aussee region before and after the war. And then my own family, my husband Joe, our daughter Anna and myself enjoying the lake and the mountains and the hikes in the woods. The historically contaminated area cannot get away with cute Dirndls and Lederhosen. All those family narratives tie into this magic location in different ways while I try to provide answers to questions that our then teen-age daughter may or may not have asked and I have been asking all my life.

Do you have a favourite moment in the film? Which one and why this one?

My favorite scene? To look at my daughter happily turning around in the sun on the green lawn. My daughter’s generation has appropriated the Dirndl and the lake and the political presence in its own way. The half-life of poisonous historic contamination seems over. New challenges await us: we now certainly must look into the sustainable future of the world and this most wonderful vacation spot in Austria.

What do you like about the short form?

The short form has always intrigued me. In my case the limitations of the sensuous super 8 continuously challenged the economy of inclusion and omission. The captivating material demands a clear structure and will not lend itself to redundance. The magic of the abstraction is the reward. Black frames will let the narrator breathe and the audience reflect.

Photo © Dorothea Tuch

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