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Wicked Games (Böse Spiele) – Ulrich Seidl

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #24. Wicked Games (Böse Spiele) – Ulrich Seidl

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #24. Wicked Games (Böse Spiele) – Ulrich Seidl

Wicked Games

Austrian auteur Ulrich Seidl returns to his first piece of narrative filmmaking since the unspooling of his phenomenal Paradise Trilogy six years ago (Love; Faith; Hope, 2012-2013) with Wicked Games (Böse Spiele), a project which, like all of Seidl’s projects, has received a prolonged production/post-production period (his decades long project, Herr Grasl is still something the director has on the backburner, for instance). Seidl bounces back and forth between narrative and documentary (he was initially a well-renowned documentarian who broke into narrative cinema with 2001’s celebrated Dog Days, which snagged the Grand Special Jury Prize in Venice—he would return to the Lido in 2012 with Paradise: Faith, which won the Special Jury Prize), and over the past several years has released 2014’s In the Basement (review) and 2016’s Safari. Seidl competed in Cannes with 2007’s Import/Export and 2012’s Paradise: Love, while the final installment of his trilogy, Paradise: Hope (review), competed in Berlin. Seidl, serving as producer, was financed on his latest project through the assistance of Filminstitut, Vienna Film Fund, Film Location Austria, and Lower Austria. His Paradise DP Wolfgang Thaler (also responsible for Michael Glawogger’s Whores’ Glory, 2011) returns, and the cast includes Michael Thomas, Georg Friedrich (North Face, 2008; Bright Nights, 2017), Hans Michael Rehberg (Schindler’s List, 1993)

Gist: Re-teaming with his usual scribe, wife Veronika Franz, the narrative of Wicked Games concerns two adult brothers who return home to Lower Austria to bury their mother. Both men return to their lives, one in Romania and one in Rimini. However, they’re forced to contend with other troubling elements from their past.

Release Date/Prediction: Seidl filmed from April 2017 to May 2018 on Wicked Games. The completion of production suggests Seidl will return for the second time to the Berlin competition, though if this doesn’t pop up there, he could return to either Cannes or Venice for a third time since he appeared in both competitions with installments of the Paradise trilogy.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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