14. März 1938 - An Afternoon

There is a historically mythological narrative which reflects Austrian patriotism, depicting the 1938 "annexation" to Germany as follows: The external entity of politics forcibly enters a bourgeois interior which had existed in unsuspecting privacy until that point, and then Austria sinks into National Socialism. This narrative was employed as late as the 70th anniversary of the "annexation" in a March 2008 television debate; even the "Nazi invasion of Austria" was mentioned once.
March 14, 1938 – One Afternoon, a home movie which has been repurposed as found footage, turns this narrative around, tersely and in every possible way. We see (without sound) the "Nazi invasion of Austria": On the date specified in the title a column of German troops drives through the Viennese suburb of Hadersdorf; Hitler, sitting in an open car, his arm rigidly outstretched in a Fascist salute, sweeps through the picture for three seconds. They´re coming! And they´re here to stay: smiling local policemen wearing swastika armbands, spidery swastikas on flags of red and white, the colors of Austria´s national banner. After this historic moment, National Socialism sinks into Austria for nine minutes. But a considerable amount of footage shot condenses to become the anticlimax of an endlessly pleasant afternoon after the annexation: personal gestures, snacks of cake, smiles exchanged with friendly visitors. National (and racist) politics stares at us unblinkingly from this picture; its triumphant procession precipitates in daily life, robbing this sight of its innocence.
The filmmaker, as the final title indicates, left this montage in, which he discovered at a flea market. This makes a number of things in the picture even more disturbing – as if they were pointing outside the constant presence of the folk´s biotope: army trucks and cars in jump cuts, which immediately recall satirical Lambeth walks from the anti-Nazi film lab, and which were innocently edited "in the camera"; the seemingly queer, chain-smoking owner of the greenhouse; a housecat, black as night. There´s something coming, and it´s coming to stay: a mysterious film.
(Drehli Robnik / Translation: Steve Wilder)

Orig. Title
14. März 1938 - Ein Nachmittag
1938 - 2008
10 min
Orig. Language
No Dialogue
Christoph Weihrich
Concept & Realization
Christoph Weihrich
Supported by
Innovative Film Austria
Available Formats
16 mm (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
24 fps
Color Format
Festivals (Selection)
Jihlava Documentary Film Festival
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
Amsterdam - IDFA, Int. Documentary Filmfestival
Rio de Janeiro - Mostra Curta de Cinema (Special Jury Award)
Buenos Aires Festival Int. de Cine Independiente BAFICI