Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sydney Film Festival: Soldate Jeannette (2013)

Year: 2013
Country: Austria
Director: Daniel Hoesl
Cast: Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg, Christina Reichsthaler, Josef Kleindienst
Screening at the Sydney Film Festival on the 6th and 8th of June 2013. Please see here for details on times, venues and tickets.

Soldate Jeannette is set to become one of the most interesting films of this year's Sydney Film Festival, reminding us all that film is first and foremost an art form.

The entertainment value and suspense of the film may not be quite as high as some others, but it certainly is a very interesting film in every way. It's way of production is fascinating and the message inspiring. What Soldate Jeannette proves is that in order to create a beautiful piece of art, it is not large amounts of money that will achieve this, but a whole lot of heart.

Fanni (Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg) has been living a life of extravagance, but has come to dislike money intensely. When some of her secrets start to unravel, she leaves her life of luxury and travels to the country to live on a farm. There she meets and befriends Anna (Christina Reichsthaler) who is unhappy with her life. Together, these two break free of their confines and find a life of freedom where they no longer feel they have to do what they don't want to do.

The most intriguing thing about Soldate Jeannette is that it is completely unscripted. It is completely improvised by the actors. What is more interesting is that the two main character's experiences are based on the experiences of their actors. These stories were found out by director, Daniel Hoesl during casting and the film was moulded around these life stories. Also, this film was made with a budget of almost nothing.

If you just walked into a cinema and knew nothing about the film to begin with, you may say that the film is slow and boring and takes too long to get to the point. However, if you go into Soldate Jeannette with the background knowledge of how it was made and these interesting facts of production, you are willing to look over these downfalls. Any film with a production such as this deserves to be praised. It is not the film you want to see if you want to be thoroughly entertained and be kept guessing, but the one to see if you want to see art in action.

The cinematography in this film is really amazing. There are some absolutely incredible shots throughout the film, many of which are of things which normally wouldn't be considered anything special. For example, the night shots of a road where you can only see the car's headlights driving up and down the laneways is so interesting to watch when it really isn't all that in real life. Some of the location shots are also quite intriguing, especially those of the farm exteriors. There is also great use of symbolism, such as the necklace symbolising the world of luxury and wealth.

The acting in this film is extremely subtle. There isn't a great deal of emotion shown from any of the characters, only very slightly. There isn't a great deal of character development either, although there is growth. Both lead actresses do well and it is obvious they have both drawn from experience because they improvise so convincingly.

Soldate Jeannette is a wonderful piece of artwork for those who love to marvel at the beauty of film. It is an achievement which Hoesl should be extremely proud of.


The Sydney Film Festival will run from the 5th-16th of June. Please see the official website for details.

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