A rum evening this. The occasion was the Austrian premiere of AUN – The Beginning and the End of All Things, a new film by Austrian director Edgar Honetschläger for which Christian Fennesz had composed the soundtrack. Since the evening was advertised as a benefit for the Japanese Red Cross (the film being an Austrian-Japanese co-production), and since Fennesz would be there in person, attendance was a must. But, strangely for a benefit gig, the organizers had announced that there would only be 100 tickets available to the general public, and those for free. Since the Gartenbaukino, the largest cinema in Vienna, has 736 seats, that left a whopping 636 tickets reserved for people connected to the film. And since those 636 would also be given away free, it was hard to see where the fund-raising aspect would come in. Anyway, I expected there to be a massive run on those 100 tickets, and duly hammered my finger sore in a rush to call the reservations hotline.
In the event, I needn’t have worried. There were large numbers of empty seats on the night, both for the screening itself and for the Fennesz concert which followed. I would have expected the guitar/laptop wizard to generate the soundtrack live in real time as the film was shown, as is customary at such events, but it was not to be. Instead he played beautifully for an hour or so after the film, his performance a shimmering and, I thought, unusually aggressive (for him) soundscape hewn from those endless silvery riffs.
As for the fund-raising element, the audience were asked for voluntary donations. Fair enough, but I can’t help wondering whether more money would have been raised if the evening had been promoted as a regular film plus live performance under normal ticketing arrangements. And the film AUN, by the way, was a stinker. One of the most tediously incomprehensible art flicks I’ve ever had the misfortune to sit through, it made Nostalghia look like Carry On Up the Khyber.