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Born in Wels in 1961, grew up in Vienna. Starts writing and directing while still in school. His first film is aired on television in 1978. In 1980 he starts studying screenwriting and directing at the Vienna Film Academy. Two films completed during his studies receive international prizes and are screened at the Stadtkino, an arthouse cinema in Vienna. Spielmann graduates in 1987. Soon afterwards, he writes and directs four cinema and made-for-TV films in succession.

In 1999, after several years of silence, his next feature film The Stranger (Die Fremde) is Austria's nomination for the Foreign Language Oscar. This is followed by Spiel im Morgengrauen, a made-for-TV movie, and in 2004 the feature Antares.

Antares is shown internationally at more than 30 festivals, and at arthouse theaters in many countries including France, the USA, and Germany. Antares is nominated by Austria to compete for the Foreign Language Oscar. Its explicit sex scenes spark heated debate among Academy members.

Since 2005 Götz Spielmann has also written and directed for the stage.

In 2006 he is awarded the Upper Austrian State Prize for Culture in the category of film. The same year he founds the production company Spielmannfilm.


Wrote and directed all films.

Feature; 115 min
Festivals: Locarno, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, Mills Valley, Palm Springs, Istanbul, Hof, Mannheim, Seville, Thessaloniki, Busan, Mar del Plata.
Awards: Austria's nomination for the Foreign Language Oscar; Opening film at the Diagonale film festival in 2004
U.S. Distribution: Film Movement

2001 SPIEL IM MORGENGRAUEN (adapted from Arthur Schnitzler).
TV; 90 min

Feature; 100 min
Festivals: Toronto, Moscow, Seattle, Hof.
Awards: Austria's nomination for the Foreign Language Oscar

TV; 90 min; co-production ORF/ZDF
Festival: Berlinale Panorama 1995

TV; 95 min; co-production ORF/ZDF
Awards: Erich Neuberg Prize 1994

Feature; 95 min; color
Festivals: San Sebastian (competition), Montreal, Hof, Bratislava, Brussels, Saarbrücken, Strasbourg.
Awards: San Sebastian: CICAE Prize, FIPRESCI Honorable Mention for the remarkable construction of an exceptional character; Bratislava: SPECIAL Prize; Wiener Filmpreis 1993; Goldene Kader 1994/Best Screenplay

Feature; 100 min; color
Festivals: Locarno (competition), La Baule, Trieste.
Awards: La Baule: Best Leading Actress for Julia Stemberger



2006 DER EINSAME WEG by Arthur Schnitzler.
Performed at the Landestheater Linz

2007 UA IMPERIUM by Götz Spielmann.
Landestheater Linz; director: Gerhard Willert

Click here to read an interview with Götz Spielmann by Karin Schiefer of the Austrian Film Commission.




The Movie's Theme
I keep going back and forth: Is it about revenge? Is it about reconciliation? The search for identity? These are all just catch phrases that don't really say anything. That's not the way I work. Revanche is a story - not theory enhanced by images. Maybe what my films are trying to do is to get to the bottom of life by focusing not on a social context but on existential questions. That's my passion, what sparks my curiosity, impels me: tracking down the substance of life, its essence deep down inside. There is, behind all the conflicts and painful things I show in my films, a fundamental spark of optimism - the conviction that life isn't a mistake, that it all somehow makes sense.

Revanche is an emotional piece, like all my movies. The characters are searching, are infused with subconscious feelings of love, grief, revenge, longing, loneliness, affection, and compassion. I like emotional movies, and I loathe kitsch and sentimentality. They are manipulation, escapism. Emotions are not the opposite of lucid thought and formal precision.

The Red-light District, Prostitution
Behind the scenes in the red-light district everything is about making a profit, about making a little money here, a lot of money there, or maybe even about making really big money. Just about everything else takes a backseat. That's the essence of our society, the society we have created and in which we live. And it's also the basic problem. The red-light district is just a condensed version of our civilization. Prostitutes sell their bodies; many so-called successful people sell their consciences. They are respected figures in society, when in fact they are the bigger prostitutes because they act out of greed rather than need. Instead of abusing themselves, they abuse others, the environment, and the world.

Nature in Revanche
This is my first film in a long time where nature plays a key role. The woods, the trails, the secluded lake, but also the light, the weather - all these things are important elements in the film. Revanche starts out with momentum, with a strong plot, and gradually flows into a kind of silence: a powerful silence, I hope. In my mind, nature represents the silence behind the conflicts. Not as an idyllic refuge one can run to for relief, but as a force, an energy with its own almighty intelligence.

The Loneliness of the Characters
Loneliness is probably an inextricable part of our modern lives, and yet I consider it an illusion. We always think of ourselves as being separate from the world, and in this way we deceive ourselves. This separation is just an invention of our imagination; in many ways we are constantly and directly interwoven in a larger whole. Loneliness is an attribute of our limited awareness, not of life itself. From the outside, the old man appears to be the loneliest character, but I think he is the least lonely of all. He has a clear identity, even if outwardly this makes his life difficult. It is an identity nevertheless. And he has his faith. And he isn't afraid of death. He may be alone, yes. But he isn't lonely.

The Fateful Incident/Coincidence
I don't believe in coincidences. Coincidence is just something our intellect can't understand. We only see pieces of the whole, never the entire picture. That is the crucial challenge in narration: to take the "coincidence" that sets the story in motion and embed it in such a way, condense it in such a way that it emerges in a deeper context in the end. Ancient mythology is a great source to draw from.

The Movie's Form
Working with cinematographer Martin Gschlacht is very intuitive, very precise, without a lot of talk or discussion. Before getting started, we don't really go into resolution, concrete scenes, technical stuff, etc.; instead we talk a lot about the story, its hidden meaning, about the formal basic conception of the film, about rhythm, about style. We think these things out in detail before we start, then when we shoot, we can work intuitively and precisely. I want to make movies that don't manipulate the viewer with effects. My style, the form of my films, which is something I am constantly working on, aims at simplicity and clarity. That may not sound spectacular, but it is difficult to do and I think that ultimately it has the greatest power. I believe that the form of the film is where its individuality lies, and this individuality is where true beauty comes from. Not in the "moral" or the "criticism" or in vain demonstrations of "abilities."

Working with the Actors
I believe that acting is best when it combines vitality with precision. I try to help actors with this, to guide them in that direction. All actors are different, each has his or her own approach. That's why I don't have any one method either, but various ones. It all depends.

Irina Potapenko spent a few nights "incognito" in a brothel, drank champagne with the customers, pole danced, familiarized herself with the job. Andreas Lust spent almost a week at the police station in Göhl, did alcohol testing, received training at the shooting range, got to know the police officers and their lives. Johannes Krisch spent several nights driving around the city with a brothel driver. The actors incorporate this knowledge into the story, into their parts. The result is a different kind of self-assurance and naturalness in their acting: true-to-life, authentic.

A "Happy Ending"
My movie doesn't have a happy ending. Why should it? That's just kitsch, something that might make you feel giddy today, but tomorrow everything is back to normal again. Despite all the terrible things that happen in the world, despite all the problems and conflicts, I believe that life is right the way it is. That's why I'm only interested in art that is life-affirming. This gives it force and urgency. And in this way it goes beyond mere reason.

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