Thunder and lightning, something is brewing again! In three weeks, the 9th SLASH ½, the finest mini-festival beyond good and evil, will once again bring you spring fever of a special kind. From May 4 – 6, we invite you to the Filmcasino with ten sparkling works of Fantastic Film to collectively shiver and marvel. At this year’s SLASH ½, dys- and utopia coexist in happy discord, the disturbing elicits rapture, norms and opinions are questioned, identities crumble. In this newsletter we present you the first film highlights, five of them in cooperation with the Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz.

In addition, we give you the first glimpse of a work full of mystical promise: the brand-new festival subject! Inspired by Saturday Morning Cartoons like Masters of the Universe, Dark Fantasy, the creatures of Grandmaster Jim Henson or the Wasteland aesthetics of Mad Max, it opens the view on the narrative world of this year’s SLASH, concocted by the Fleischwolf collective, designed by the agency HYPHE and illustrated by Elias Fleischer. BEWARE, GREAT THINGS ARE COMING!


(c)HYPHE | Illustration: Elias Fleischer


A traditional element of SLASH ½ is the long-standing cooperation with the CROSSING EUROPE Film Festival Linz, whose program was announced on April 14. As always, the Night Sight section is a fixed feature, for which SLASH festival director Markus Keuschnigg has curated five films this year, which will be screened at the Filmcasino in Vienna immediately after the Linz festival:

In her second feature NIGHTSIREN, Tereza Nvotová stages the classic portrayal of witches in a Slovak village in the context of misogynistic power relations and blind superstition. LA PIETÀ by director-eccentric Eduardo Casanova is extravagant and provocative set cinema that parallels a perverse mother-son relationship with the story of a North Korean family loyal to the regime. Guillaume Nicloux’s LOCKDOWN TOWER, in which residents become prisoners when their high-rise building is enveloped in a dense fog, is a nightmarishly dark thesis on the current state of society. SISU offers Finnish action escapism in the most brute Rambo style, in which director Jalmari Helander has a taciturn ex-soldier take out Nazis with gusto. And an impressive fantasy epic filled with monsters and magic set in the Basque country at the time of Christianization was created by Paul Urkijo Alijo with IRATI.

In addition, SLASH ½ presents the grotesque as well as visually captivating hell trip INFINITY POOL, the Austrian premiere of Brandon Cronenberg’s third feature-length film, hosted by The Gap.


>> Tickets go on sale April 21, 2023 <<

SLASH ½ 2023:
4 – 6 May 2023, Filmcasino

>> Film synopses >>>

NIGHTSIREN (R: Tereza Nvotová)

SK/CZ 2022
D: Tereza Nvotová

Decades after a family tragedy, Šarlota returns to her quaint Slovakian hometown riddled with a toxic mix of patriarchal structures and blind superstition. A witch is still said to live in the deep, dark forest nearby—and to have made pacts with Šarlota’s family in the past. Not before long, the young woman and her friend Mira, also an outsider, become the target of some townsfolk’s hostility. In her second feature, Tereza Nvotová reenvisions classical depictions of witches and conjures the natural potency in femininity as an essential force to confront prevailing gender and power relations.

in cooperation with CROSSING EUROPE

LA PIETÀ (R: Eduardo Casanova) (c) mafesisi

ES/AR 2022
D: Eduardo Casanova

Supermother Libertad and her son Mateo are trapped in a pathological state of codependency. When the young man is diagnosed with a brain tumor, Libertad’s contaminated world is set to come out of joint. Maverick Spanish director Eduardo Casanova pairs these heightened vignettes of a perverted mother-and-son relationship—often verging on the vulgar and brutal—with the story of a North Korean family that has remained loyal to the regime. LA PIEDAD, produced by Spanish genre-cinema icon Álex de la Iglesia, is a provocative set-piece extravaganza presented in explosions of old rose and marble.

in cooperation with CROSSING EUROPE

LOCKDOWN TOWER (R: Guillaume Nicloux) (c) Unité | Les films du Worso

FR 2022
D: Guillaume Nicloux

A high-rise is enveloped in a thick fog trapping the tenants inside. It doesn’t take long until the gloves come off and the thin skin of civilization is shed. There’s looting and stockpiling, trading and bargaining. Groups are formed; gangs control parts of the building. And that is only the beginning of Guillaume Nicloux’s nightmare steeped in shades of brown. The film turns out to be less of a horror flick than an upsetting, hopeless, misanthropy-heavy piece advancing its theses about the current state of society. Rarely have we taken more delight in a ray of sunlight than after this endless night.

in cooperation with CROSSING EUROPE

SISU (R: Jalmari Helander) (c)Sony Pictures

FI/GB 2022
D: Jalmari Helander

Finland, 1944.—Ever since the taciturn veteran soldier Aatami has turned his back on war, he’s been roaming Lapland’s barren landscape with his dog. One day, he finds a gigantic lump of gold, which the marauding Nazis he bumps into also want for themselves. A battle for life and death ensues. The word SISU can probably best be translated as endurance or tenacity. It describes a character trait the Finns like to see as a national particularity, a quality that allows the protagonist of Jalmari Helander’s glorious action juggernaut to go apeshit on Nazis, Suomi Rambo-style.

in cooperation with CROSSING EUROPE

IRATI (R: Paul Urkijo Alijo) (c) David Herranz

ES/FR 2022
D: Paul Urkijo Alijo

The Basque Country in the eighth century: While the invading Franks forcibly displaced people of other faiths in the name of Christianization, Eneko, the young “Lord of the Vale,” must bury the bones of his “pagan” father in a fabled cave in order to assume the regency. On his quest he gets help from Irati, a young woman who seems to have the whole arsenal of natural mysteries at her fingertips and who upends Eneko’s world and his convictions. The second feature fantasy by Paul Urkijo Alijo is a spectacular invocation of Basque legends and folklore, rendered as a breathtaking fantasy epic brimming with battles, monsters, and magic. Extraordinary!

in cooperation with CROSSING EUROPE

INFINITY POOL (R: Brandon Cronenberg) (c) NEON | Topic Studios

CA/HR/HU 2023
D: Brandon Cronenberg

In search of inspiration, the (rather ungifted) writer James and his wife, the daughter of a wealthy publisher, check into a luxury resort. A picnic outside the premises is followed by a tragic accident, killing a local. In the (fictional) country where the movie is set, this is punishable by death—unless James has himself cloned for a pretty penny and sends his doppelgänger to die in his stead. Brandon Cronenberg (POSSESSOR) takes this grotesque situation as a jump-off point for an equally entrancing, vexing, and perplexing hell ride conceived and shot as a down-to-the-marrow exponent of transgressive cinema. Utterly vile.

hosted by The Gap