World premiere: Berlinale 2022 / Encounters competition
For more than a hundred years, the novel, “Josefine Mutzenbacher or The Story of a Viennese Whore”, has been the subject of controversy for its lustful depiction of child and female sexuality. Though published anonymously, the novel has over the years been attributed to the Austrian writer, Felix Salten (the author of “Bambi”), and despite being banned for a period has also been celebrated as a world-renowned work of Viennese literature.
With an ad in a newspaper, Ruth Beckermann announces a casting call for a film based on the well-known pornographic novel: “Looking for men between the ages of 16 and 99.” Shot in a former coffin factory, the film, MUTZENBACHER, sees a hundred readers confronted with excerpts from the text. And just as in real life, reading these “offensive” passages on the set evokes not only personal memories and erotic fantasies, but also reactions of denial, rejection, self-distancing and strategies of justification. We live and love in an age when sex is more ubiquitous than ever, and yet at the same time is met with a highly charged moral environment.
In 2018, Ruth Beckermann's THE WALDHEIM WALTZ won the Glashütte Original - Documentary Award for best documentary at the Berlinale.