Welcome in Vienna – Part 1 : God does not believe in us anymore / Wohin und zurück – Teil 1: An uns glaubt Gott nicht mehr

(Fiction, Austria/Switzerland/Germany, 1982, 111’, BW, Fr ST)

by Axel Corti

with Johannes Silberschneider, Barbara Petritsch, Armin Mueller-Stahl

Welcome in Vienna – Part 1 : God does not believe in us anymore


Vienna 1938: after Crystal Night and the murder of his father by the Nazis, Jewish teenager Ferry Tobler flees Austria. He ends up in Prague, where he meets Gandhi, an anti-Nazi German soldier who has escaped from Dachau, and Alea, a young Czech women in charge of caring for refugees. They make their way to Paris, where because they have no papers, they are interned by the French authorities in a holding camp at Saint-Just-en-Chaussée.


“Welcome in Vienna is less a saga in three episodes than the assemblage of three “fragments” taken from a kind of imaginary fresco and whose order is dictated only by which chronology (of the stories, of their filming). In short, the three films could be seen not only separately, but even out of “order”, without spoiling either comprehension or viewing pleasure. The first film describes the urgency and heartbreak of departure, via a new awareness, and then an amorous initiation. Each film has its key location, its microcosm: here it is a French camp where immigrants are held.” N. T. Binh, Positif, mars 1987

In his direction, using black and white and a square format, and at times inserting archive footage, although always in correlation with the story,  Axel Corti finds the right tonality somewhere between modern sleekness and stylization: faithful to the story and its characters, but not averse to the beauty of wandering aimlessly in the snow to the sound of Schubert, or the ellipse of an embrace, segueing from a shot of a man and woman fording a river bare-chested between enemy lines, and a shot of the same two waking up in the morning in the same bed.”  Serge Kaganski, lesinrocks.com, November 2011

Film Author :

Axel Corti
Axel Corti

Born in 1933, Axel Corti began to work for the theater in 1958. Two years later, he was invited by the Vienna Burgtheater to debut as assistant to the greatest Austrian theater directors. In the 1960s he wrote and directed films for the leading Austrian and European production companies. Thanks to his trilogy Welcome in Vienna / Wohin und Zurück he became the best-known Austrian radical and avant-garde director. His film A Woman’s Pale Blue Handwriting (1984) was acclaimed by the critics. In 1968, he launched a weekly radio news and opinion program to which he remained attached until his death in 1993. Corti was and remains one of the most important figures in the Austrian cultural universe: as much for his 30-year radio and television career, as for his work as director, screenwriter, opera director, genius of modern theater, and teacher. For all that, he received many prestigious prizes and awards.

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