The World of Ulrich Seidl

Screenings at the Yamagata Documentary Film Library present documentaries and movies rarely shown on television or in theaters, including works from the Film Library vaults.

Losses to Be Expected 14:00- 18:45- (screens twice)

Losses to Be Expected

YIDFF ’93 International Competition Runner-Up Prize

Director: Ulrich Seidl / AUSTRIA / 1992 / 35mm / 118 min


Winter 1992. A man, Czech, takes his clothes off and dances frantically with his emaciated body to the ratting tunes of music. Two Austrian women sit on a sofa chattering about their opulent menus. Sidles semi-documentary film begins and ends with these two scenes. In between evolves a private story: Sept, a widower, is looking for a new wife, not for the sake of love, but because the meals his wife once prepared and stored in the freezer are slowly running out.


Losses to Be Expected


The life of the villagers living on both sides of the former Iron Curtain is documented in tiny details and with great sensitivity. Parable-like elements are woven into this relationship between East and West, two worlds which are totally different, though geographically very near: affluence and consumption on one side, poverty and backwardness on the other. It is a melancholic portrait of the land and the isolation of the old generation and about “losses”: the loss of youth and love, the loss of the border and the homeland.


Losses to Be Expected


These feelings are emphasized through dark images; heavy clouds are hanging low in the sky throughout the film. The camera glides smoothly, in dance-like movements between indoor and outdoor scenes, constantly dissolving the boundaries between documentary and feature film. In spite of its stylishness and use of Mise-en-scene, the film is of extreme authenticity. It shows a reality stripped of its romantic veil, naked like the body of the dancing Czech.

Regula König
Source:YIDFF ’93 Official Catalog


Losses to Be Expected


●Director’s Statement

When we started shooting, the story I wanted to tell in this film was still a story with an uncertain ending.

The film focuses on the Austrian widower Sepp, who hopes to find a wife in the former East Bloc because he has heard that they can be had cheaper there; and on Paula, a widow, living in Czechía. In Sepp she gets to know a man who promises her a life in the wealthy West.

My original intention was to tell something through this private story about the living conditions on both sides of the border. But in the end the film turned out to be more than a film of topical interest. Its exclusive topic is not the conflict between East and West —poverty on the one side, prosperity on the other—but the things in life that are universally valid—unfulfilled love, loneliness, age and death.

I did not know whether the film would be more a documentary or a feature film. But a frontier crossing was premiere—and we had been shooting in these villages for several months—that their own provincial and therefore “uninteresting” life could serve as the material for a film.


Ulrich Seidl


Losses to Be Expected


[Venue]The YAMAGATA Documentary Film Library (Yamagata Big Wing 3F)[Admission]Free admission for members (Member’s fee: free)
[Presented by]YIDFF (NPO)
[Contact] (YIDFF Yamagata office)