31. October 2018
In cinemas March 2019
The Days and the Year depicts the life and agricultural work of Gottfried and Elfie on a small farm in the Waldviertel region of Austria. Having decided in favour of ‘small-scale’ farming, the two of them have consequentially pursued this aim, always regarding their animals as living creatures and the soil as a cosmos in its own right.
The film tenaciously follows the trail of this life, dispensing with any commentary or explanation in order to build up a story of how widespread resource-destroying agricultural practices and unrestrained consumerism lead to an absurd situation and how the effects of it are felt: there is another way. The intention is to convey this impression through the film’s visual language and narrative style, very much in the sense of John Berger, whose work provided an important impulse for this film:
A sequence of images is not provided with verbal keys. If it were, then one would be forcing one single verbal meaning upon the phenomena. However, phenomena as such are ambiguous, and have several meanings. That is why the visual sense is so astonishing, and memory, which is based on the visual sense, is freer than the intellect.
John Berger / Jean Mohr, Another Way of Telling
I spent a year accompanying my two protagonists in their everyday work and life, and attempted to enter into their work processes and rhythms. This was possible through the long period available for filming and the circumstance that my ‘laboratory’, i.e. my place of work and study, is located right outside my front door. This laboratory (to continue the metaphor) confronts me personally in particular with the subject of consequentiality. How can I match the consequentiality of my protagonists’ behaviour with corresponding behaviour on my part as a filmmaker? This question and this involvement constituted the driving force behind the present film and its aesthetic orientation.
The Days Like the Year is connected to earlier works. On the one hand, to Am Stein, 1998, in which I dealt with the subject of Alpine farming and the commercial exploitation of the Alps. On the other hand, to In , 2013, a collaborative work with Angela Summereder, which explores the relationship between human beings and animals.
NO SPECIAL LOOK — REMARKS ON OTHMAR SCHMIDERER’S FILM THE DAYS AND THE YEAR
Right at the start of this film, farmer Gottfried Neuwirth, speaking over the black screen before the opening credits, says that he thinks of himself more as a custodian of his land than as a farmer oriented towards relentlessly increasing his yield. The fact that this preliminary, isolated piece of personal information subsequently remains the only statement to be heard outside of a work context, may be regarded as programmatic for the architecture of Othmar Schmiderer’s film as a whole.
more dates coming soon