The other Monday...

...they invited us to two premieres. At the Gartenbaukino one of several screenings of the first episode of the eighth season of "Game of Thrones" took place, and at the Urania Elyas M'Barek was walking the red carpet for his latest film "The Collini Case". Wolfgang Ritzberger and Marie-Rose Ritzberger were at the scene.

Events  Premiere 

GoT  Elyas M'Barek 

Unbelievable, but supposedly true: The first episode of the new season of "Game of Thrones" was downloaded 55 million times, according to producer HBO. In contrast, the 17.4 million TV viewers in the USA are quite modest despite the new ratings record (the old one was held by the last episode of the 7th season of "Game of Thrones" with just over 16 million). 


HBO did not publish how many of these downloads were illegal, but warned that illegal files could contain viruses, Trojans and cause other complications. Almost like a real junkie, a serial junkie (or binge-watcher) expects the stuff to be dangerous or possibly "dirty".  In Vienna the screening took place during Holy Week, the first episode of the new season was shown in several cinemas like the Gartenbaukino, and the crowds were enormous – on Monday morning at the Apollo cinema in Mariahilf the queue went around the corner twice and almost reached the Kopernikusgasse. Some hardcore fans were even said to be camping in front of the cinema since Sunday evening. The Gartenbaukino was completely booked out.


At the same time a PR agency invited us to the Urania, where the red carpet was rolled out for Elyas M'Barek, the teenage heartthrob from Austria especially known for the film "Fack ju Göthe". In “The Collini Case” M'Barek plays a young public defender, something completely different to his previous works. The movie is based on the very successful novel by Ferdinand von Schirach, which, as he says, wraps what he calls a German judicial scandal in a fictional story. Schirach, a lawyer and attorney is now a bestselling author. 


After the controversial TV film about a combat pilot who shot down a passenger plane - the movie is dealing with the question of whether a certain number of human lives should be sacrificed in order to save a larger number of lives - now followed the filming of what is basically another legal topic for the cinema. The topic is a federal law of 1969, through which the lawyer Ernst Dreher, a former Nazi judge, succeeded in making all Nazi crimes statute-barred by classifying them as complicity. This law also made all investigations against the Reich Security Main Office obsolete. Von Schirach describes this procedure as a solid judicial scandal. 


This law, Schirach continues, had been smuggled through the Bundestag by using an inconspicuous title, that’s why hardly anyone would have noticed that most of the trials against Nazi perpetrators had thus become obsolete. This was because through this law it became impossible to be prosecuted as an accomplice, since German laws provide for a statute of limitations that comes into effect after 15 years. This meant that all charges brought after 1960 were wastepaper. Schirach said in an interview for "Die Zeit" that he very consciously wanted to deal with the subject of National Socialism, after all he was the grandson of the “Reichsjugendführer” Baldur von Schirach. He wanted to take a look at how the Federal Republic of Germany had dealt with this legacy and argued that there had been an outrageous mockery of the victims.


The model for the book and thus for the film was a trial against a German officer who had ordered to shoot civilians in Italy in retaliation for partisan attacks and was acquitted in the last instance because of the so-called Dreher law. At the “Gartenbaukino” the Game of Thrones fans were absolutely enthusiastic anyway, they squealed with pleasure about those little Gags, for example when Peter Dinklage, who was awarded Emmys and Golden Globes for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister, tells his counterpart that it’s that cold, one could "freezes one's balls off", but the experienced groupie knows, that the he no longer has any. There’s not much going on in this episode, the notorious violence or sex scenes were missing, but the "Game of Thrones" universe and all its protagonists appeared at the beginning of the season and positioned themselves for what has yet to come. And saying “Grüß Gott” at the beginning is quite mannerly.


At the Urania the red carpet wasn't that crowded, but there was a bit of a rush of people in front of Elyas M'Barek, although the squealing teenagers were missing. Because I couldn’t be at two places the same time, my daughter Marie-Rose Ritzberger, 15 Years old, and quite a fan of Elyas M’Barek, “sacrificed” herself and is now describing her experience with him and the movie.


Elyas M'Barek - Teenager heartthrob by Marie-Rose Ritzberger

"The Collini Case" is a violent story, very well cast and convincingly played. The actors conveyed the story authentically. M'Barek shines in the role of the successful Turk; in my opinion the impersonation of the perpetrator Collini by Franco Nero was brilliant. Sadly, the protagonist did not convince me. The camera work was also not very convincing for me, it was either too fast or too slow and didn't show a consistent style. The lighting felt a little bit unrealistic. Whether one liked a film or not can usually be clarified with a simple question: Would you recommend the film to your friends? My answer to this question considering "The Collini Case" would be "no" after a short consideration, but I still wouldn't dare to say that it's a bad film. 


In my opinion, the script writers or the director wasted a lot of potential, but still manage to tell an interesting story, which is supported by, for the most part, very good actors. I have watched all "Fack ju Göthe" sequels and the movie "Turkish for Beginners" at the cinema. Thanks to these movies Elyas has become a very well-known and respected actor. A teacher like Zeki Müller is what almost every student wants. Elyas has gained a reputation not only among young people but also among many teachers, which is quite understandable, because every teacher would like to have the recognition that Zeki Müller enjoys as a teacher among his students. At my former school, some classes even went to the cinema to watch the sequels of the first part and had to write essays about it. In short: Every student and many teachers know quotes from "Fack ju Göthe" and the name Elyas M’Barek rings a bell to them. In the comedy "Turkish for Beginners", M'Barek plays a teenager named Cem, who appears to be a heartless egoist, but - almost a cliché - has a warm, fragile heart, which he reveals in his love story with Lena (Josefine Preuß).


When I get to know Elyas live at the premiere of the film "Der Fall Collini", I was extremely excited. To be honest, I, like many others, am not a true loyal fan of him, but I still like his personality and he seems to be an uncomplicated person. The chance to see him at a premiere of a movie in which he plays neither a good-looking teenager nor an attractive criminal teacher was really an indispensable enrichment. There weren't as many people as expected, but when he finally got on the red carpet there were occasional screams and soon the fight for the photos started. Thank God there was no real fighting going on, and even though I held back at first, I managed to get a selfie with him, which I'm very, very proud of. I guess that I was the youngest at the event, which was quite unexpected. I thought there would be a lot of young fans, but probably because of the sad topic of the novel adaption not everyone felt attracted. Elyas is also much smaller than I imagined him to be, but that’s the case with many actors, and otherwise he looks exactly like on screen, which is why the whole situation felt somewhat surreal. The movie touches an incredibly sad topic, and I think that teenagers don’t feel very attracted to the plot, since it’s seen as a very grown-up issue. Nevertheless, I’m glad that I was allowed to watch the film and meet the main actor in person.