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06. Septemeber 2022


Social criticism reflected in the visual language: Filmmakers Ruth Mader and Santiago Mitre are highlighted in this year’s “Contemporary Cinema in Focus”. In addition to earlier works by the director, FILMFEST HAMBURG will show the films Serviam – Ich will dienen by the Austrian Mader and Argentina, 1985 by the Buenos Aires-born Mitre as German premieres and promote cinematic exchange across continents. The format, introduced in 2019, will be complemented by in-depth discussions of the works. 
Festival director Albert Wiederspiel: “In our anniversary year, we are continuing our project of introducing two directors who, in our opinion, have been little known in Germany so far, ideally one woman and one man from two different continents, to our Hamburg audience. Ruth Mader and Santiago Mitre make their films with classical elements, but always with their finger on the pulse of the times, always pursuing their artistic visions and political ideals.”


Ruth Mader made a name for herself as a contemporary filmmaker at the latest when her short film Zero-deficit (2001) was invited to the Cinéfondation in Cannes. The content of her works is characterised by social marginalisation, social dislocation, dystopias and dehumanisation. The highlight of these critiques was her latest feature film Life Guidance (2017), which screened at FILMFEST HAMBURG and was invited to the Venice International Film Festival in the same year: High achievers can have themselves optimised with the help of the agency “Life Guidance” in order to be able to fully absorb the structures of the capitalist world. Self-optimisation, manipulation and fundamentalism are also at the forefront of Serviam – I will serve (2022). The thriller tells the story of a Catholic boarding school for girls in Austria, where only the most pious and obedient students of the faith wear stigmata through the penitential belt. The film was screened in the international competition of the 2022 Locarno Film Festival.


During FILMFEST HAMBURG, three additional films by Mader will be shown in two screenings: As a double screening, the short film Gfrasta (1998), which depicts an afternoon in a Viennese housing estate in 11 minutes and was awarded the Max Ophüls Prize in 1999, and Mader’s feature film debut Struggle (2003). Her first feature film, which premiered in Cannes in 2003 within the section “Un Certain Regard”, tells of the dichotomy of poverty and wealth from the perspective of a Polish migrant worker and a Viennese real estate agent. Her episodic documentary What is Love (2011), which was screened at the Berlinale in 2012, uses different life models to pose the question of the meaning of life. The discussion with Ruth Mader will take place after the double screening on 7 October at Metropolis. 


Santigo Mitre’s works also deal with questions of power, institutions and society – all against the political background of a repressive state. Although his early films, such as The Student (2011) or the update of the Argentinean classic Paulina (2013), already caused plenty of discussion within the country and Mitre was part of the jury of the “Semaine de la Critique” in Cannes in 2016, one can pinpoint his international breakthrough with the invitation of The Summit (2017) to the festival within the “Un Certain Regard” section. The film tells the story of Argentina’s new president and the important decisions he faces. The central criticism of the film is directed at Latin American leaders and their networks. 


Three films by Santiago Mitre will be shown at FILMFEST HAMBURG: The Student (2011), which explains the workings of power relations through university politics, and Mitre’s new films Petite Fleur (15 Ways to kill your Neighbour) (2022) and Argentina, 1985 (2022). The former combines the daily groundhog with jazz and black humour and represents Mitre’s first French-language film. The latter pushes Mitre’s critique of the state and power: Argentina, 1985 moves away from fiction to real names, real victims and real events. Through the Argentinian trial of the members of the Argentinian military junta from 1976 to 1983, the film tells of unequal power structures and the attempt to break them down. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival on 03 September. The talk with Mitre about his work will take place on 05 October at FILMFEST BAR / Kassematte20.


FILMFEST HAMBURG will take place from 29 September to 8 October 2022 with over 130 films. Festival cinemas are the Abaton, Alabama, CinemaxX Dammtor, Metropolis, Passage and Studio-Kino.  The full programme will be announced on 13 September 2022. Advance booking starts on 14 September with the Yellow Hour at Levantehaus and on 15 September at the other advance booking offices.


The films at a glance


Ruth Mader:


D: Ruth Mader | S: Ruth Mader, Barbara Albert, Martin Leidenfrost

Austria 1998


Life Guidance

D: Ruth Mader | S: Ruth Mader, Martin Leidenfrost

Austria 2017



D & S: Ruth Mader

Austria 2001


Serviam – I will serve

D: Ruth Mader | D: Ruth Mader, Martin Leidenfrost

Austria 2022



D: Ruth Mader | S: Ruth Mader, Martin Leidenfrost, Barbara Albert

Austria 2003


What is Love

D & S: Ruth Mader

Austria 2012


Santiago Mitre:

Argentina, 1985

D: Santiago Mitre | S: Santiago Mitre, Mariano Llinás

Argentina, USA 2022



D: Santiago Mitre | S: Santiago Mitre, Mariano Llinás, based on an original screenplay by Eduardo Borràs

Argentina, Brazil, France 2015


Petite Fleur (15 Ways to Kill Your Neighbour)

D: Santiago Mitre | S: Santiago Mitre, Mariano Llinás, based on the novel ‘Petite fleur jamais ne meurt’ by Iosi Havilio

Argentina, France 2022


The Student

D & S: Santiago Mitre

Argentina 2011


The Summit                   

D: Santiago Mitre | S: Mariano Llinás, Santiago Mitre

Argentina, France, Spain 2017


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