‘Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood’ (Pablo Neruda). It’s the early 1950s and little Franzi is growing up in the small Austrian town of Judenburg. Her oppressive family home is dominated by her feverish and mentally ill father, who is rigid and unpredictable. Her father, who regularly delivers halves of pork for the butcher, spent several years in the French Foreign Legion in Morocco, Algeria and Syria – a period which he partly glorifies but which still also haunts him. Franzi immerses herself in this world by looking at an abundance of beguiling yet disturbing photographs taken at the time by her father. Her own childish fantasy realm of fairy tales and picture books soon intermingle with nightmares as reality merges with imagination, war, horror and beauty. Decades later, Franziska, now a successful photographer but still overshadowed by her father’s memory, undertakes a journey back into his youth. She wants to understand his war trauma and shed light on her family’s past. But it soon transpires that her search for the truth has ambivalent consequences.
by Elfi Mikesch
with Eva Mattes, Martin Wuttke, Carolina Cardoso, Nicole Max, Sascha Ley
Luxembourg / Austria 2014