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Through the Looking-Glass…Top 100 Most Anticipated Films of 2016: #4. Ulrich Seidl’s Herr Grasl

Herr Grasl

Director: Ulrich Seidl // Writer: Ulrich Seidl

After premiering his monolithic Paradise trilogy across 2012 and 2013, along with the long gestating documentary project In the Basement in 2014, Austrian auteur Ulrich Seidl has been a bit more chatty about plans for his next project, titled Herr Grasl. A labor of love for the director, he’s funding it himself and seeking additional funding from his home country, and it’s rumored to be his most expensive project to date. A period piece set in the late 18th century, the film concerns a real-life Robin Hood-like figure who lived in the northern part of Austria fought back against the authorities and was eventually hanged at the age of 26. Seidl is quoted as saying “We had to deal with monarchy, meaning a very repressive state: a state as criminal as criminals themselves. A bit like today.” Sounds exactly like the cheery tone we’ve come to relish from the provocative filmmaker. The only trouble is Seidl marches to the beat of his own drum, so there’s no dictating when the film will actually go into production—but his recent verbalizations have us optimistic that it will be sooner rather than later.

Cast: Not available.

Producers: Seeking funding.

U.S. Distributor: Rights available.

Release Date: We’ve no idea where Seidl is in the process of this feature, and he takes a notoriously long time between projects (when we interviewed him in May of 2013 Seidl mentioned he’d been working on putting together this particular project for the past two decades). Ere goes, maybe 2016 is a pipedream for this premiere. But, maybe not.

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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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