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WEDNESDAY, JAN 31 2018, 07:00 PM


Join us for a screening of Ulrike Ottinger's 2007 documentary Prater, presented in cooperation with the American Austrian Foundation and introduced by Laurence Kardish, the Former Senior Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art. 


Vienna's Prater is an amusement park and a desire machine. No mechanical invention, no novel idea or sensational innovation ever escapes becoming part of the fun-house that is the Prater, an achievement that has made the Prater the oldest and most famous pleasure garden in the world.

Ulrike Ottinger's impressionistic film "Prater" shimmers. With the most beguiling contemporary images and the most extraordinary found footage of the Prater's romantic past, Ottinger transports each viewer into the beating and luminous heart of this ever-changing manmade creature that has entertained its visitors since April 17, 1776 when Emperor Joseph deeded his former hunting ground, the Prater (Latin for "meadow"), to the people of Vienna. With quotes from writers such as Elfriede Jelinek, Josef von Sternberg, Erich Kästner and Elias Canetti, interviews with those who work and those who enjoy the Prater, and the ambient music of the Prater, Ottinger, in her own unconventional way, conducts a cinematic celebration of a unique civic attraction. By day the Prater is inhabited by children and families. With big eyes, the children sit in go-carts or stare up at the puppet theater. At night the teenagers are magnetically drawn in, along with those who are still young at heart. The tea dance turns into a wild disco for lonely hearts. With their acrobatic thrashing to Eastern European rap rhythms, the teens prove that no centrifugal force can put them off balance. The members of a young gang try to prove themselves by slugging at the "Watschenmann," winning a prize if they hit the human-like figure hard enough. And up above, the bright lights of the roller coaster sparkle. Ejection seats, carousels and scooters contend with the stars in the night sky. Reality and illusion, past and present: it's all a part of this most imaginative, welcoming and beckoning breathless Beauty. At the Prater any and everything is possible.

Prater, 2007. 105 min. German with English subtitles. A film by Ulrike Ottinger (co-produced, directed, written and photographed). An Austrian-German co-production with Kurt Mayer Films and supported by Filmfonds Wien and ORF.