Knittelfeld - A Town without a History

Austrian literature has a long tradition of plotting the province as a place of horror, whereas in film the idea of the country idyll remains largely uncontradicted. Gerhard Benedikt Friedl´s Knittelfeld - A Town without a History distances itself from this tradition in many ways. Firstly because of the choice of subject - a small town, set unobtrusively in a landscape without grandeur or note. Secondly because of the way in which the story is told, mixing the fictitious with the documentary whereby the pictures have a tendency to stand out against the sound. The camera work from Rudolph Barmettler measures the territory of Knittelfeld in smooth pans or fixed stares, revealing the small town as a rank growth in which the local authorities have achieved only a minimum of order - traffic lights and signs, fire station, emergency services. In addition, the places of public life - inns, shopping centres, park places, schools and especially the military airport with which this region is generally associated in Austria itself. Friedl writes a story into this environment which can be understood structurally as a soap opera. A soap opera without doubt, but one which, because of its content continually slips into barbarity. Throughout the film members of the Pritz family (from whom a complicated genealogy is derived) commit various crimes of differing dimensions. Men are beaten up because they fail to pay gambling debts, children are mistreated and abandoned, tools are stolen and buried, husbands are serially consigned to the grave. The established facts of the cases and the public opinion about them become superimposed, factual truth and meaning separate. And so it is with this film which does not tell the history of the town of Knittelfeld, but rather the history of a town like Knittelfeld. History finds itself on the pages of the daily chronicles. (Bert Rebhandl)

Knittelfeld is a small Austrian town and looks exactly like an Austrian small town. Contrary to other Austrian small towns Knittelfeld had to face a challenge. In 1977, the family Pritz moved into Knittelfeld and confronted the town with a very unusual degree of suffering, crime and manslaughter. (G. B. F.)

Orig. Title
Knittelfeld - Stadt ohne Geschichte
Austria, Germany
35 min
Orig. Language
Gerhard Benedikt Friedl
Gerhard Benedikt Friedl
Rudolf Barmettler
Gerhard Benedikt Friedl
Andrée Hesse
Matthias Hirth
Production Manager
Evi Stangassinger
Available Formats
16 mm (Original Format)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
24 fps
16 mm (Original Format)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
24 fps
Festivals (Selection)
Duisburg - Duisburger Filmwoche
Kassel - Dokumentarfilm- & Videofest
Neubrandenburg - dokumentART
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Rotterdam - Int. Filmfestival
Oberhausen - Int. Kurzfilmtage
Nyon - visions du réel - Festival Int. du Cinéma Documentaire
München - Int. Dokumentarfilmfestival
Poitiers - Recontres Internationales Henri Langlois
New York - Expo of Short Film & Video
Leipzig - Int. Studentenfilmfestival
Austin - Cinetexas - Int. short film&video&new media festival
Tampere - Film Festival