Feature Film/Austria 2017
87 min. / DCP 1:2,35 / Color / Dolby Digital
Original Languages: French, English, Italian, Romani, German, Dari, Japanese, Somali, Serbian, Kurdish
Subtitles: English, German
Feature Film/Austria 2017
87 min. / DCP 1:2,35 / Color / Dolby Digital
Original Languages: French, English, Italian, Romani, German, Dari, Japanese, Somali, Serbian, Kurdish
Subtitles: English, German
Longing to overcome distance, customers come in the telephone cabins of a zany Viennese Call Shop.
Like with an umbilical cord, the telephone cable connects them with their loved ones, family and a distant home.
The voice becomes an object of projection, but is there a real understanding?
Ciao Chérie travels the world sonically while visually, an international cosmos rises up in a single room.
Dial tone. A young woman holds the receiver to her ear and waits. Busy tone. Only the second time around someone picks up, not the reaction she was expecting though. The conversation ends. ‘Two Forty’ is all she hears at the counter.
In just a few close up shots, this concentrated scene immediately begins to navigate the microcosm of Ciao Chérie, Nina Kusturica’s third feature-length film. The director is also credited with writing and producing the film.
The set is a Call Shop, one of those commercial hubs that despite the age of mobile communication are still scattered across the urban landscape offering services once the terrain of postal institutions.
The tiny shop in Vienna’s ‘Ottakring’ district is reluctantly run by Larisa, after her husband disappeared to Belgrade and left her to take care of business. Meanwhile, it seems the whole world casually congregates in the shop – their diversity displayed in a medley of languages.
There’s the shy Ange for example, who is in training and hopes, in vain, to lessen her homesickness for her native Togo on the phone. Mimi, on the other hand is having a secret and passionate affair with an Italian. She visits the shop to phone him or ask her best friend in Japan for advice. She shares her double life with an afghan teenager whose impending arranged marriage in his home country stands in stark contrast to his playful Viennese girlfriend joking around outside the booth.
Sometimes the customers get talking: ‘Your the guy who doesn’t know who he is, right ?’ – ‘I can’t remember anything, but I know who I am.’
Ciao Chérie is, in essence, a chamber play. The few motives from outside the shop structure the film with views of the shop front and the immediate vicinity, the street view with bustling trams and the modern current of a culturally diverse Vienna. We are skillfully directed between the documentary style footage from outside and the fictional narrative from within the shop, the latter based on detailed research and embodied by a well-matched blend of professional and amateur actors.
Rather than become limiting, the spacial confines serve as the glue binding the stories together as does the camera work of Michael Schindegger: from inside the shop with the delicate, kinetic reflections of glass surfaces – the fronts of the booths, doors, display cabinets, – he creates carefully constructed, multi-layered images which allude to the off-screen narrative. This represents nicely the somewhat ambivalent experience of talking on the telephone. It makes the speakers, physically separated by great distances, at least acoustically closer to another. It brings them temporarily closer together – though at the same time conscious of the physical distances present between them.
The third element, decorating the many voices and stories, is the music. On the one hand the Wladigeroff brothers lend their arrangements to the films imagery and narrative, for example the melancholic layer of flugelhorn in the opening sequences. On the other, the characters sing a tune throughout the film like a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to home. Visibly detached from their person, the voices fill the empty shop with longing, fantasy and memories that cannot be captured through the phone.
The shy Ange, sings: ‚I’ve loved you so long, I’ll never forget you’ Ange drops her shyness and starts to flirt.
Text by Isabella Reicher
Nahoko Fort-Nishigami was born in Japan. She studied singing in Vienna and acting in Paris. As a soloist she has performed in the top concert halls of Europe and Japan. She appeared regularly in Vienna’s Volkstheater and played Jedermann’s seductress ‚die Buhlschaft’ in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria. Nahoko Fort-Nishigami has also appeared in numerous film and television productions including leading roles in Tatort, Trautmann, Der Chinese, Winwin, Oktoberfest, Der Rote Punkt and others.
Sikavi Agbogbe was born in Togo and lives in Vienna. The role of Ange is her first role in a feature film. Alongside acting she studies Communication & Media Sciences, English and German at the University of Vienna.
Simonida Selimović was born in Serbia and has lived in Vienna since her childhood. She began acting early in her youth in the children’s series Operation Dunarea, later in Nina Kusturica’s feature film Ciao Chérie. She has performed at the Schauspielhaus Essen as well as the Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin in the Roma Armee production by Yael Ronen. She has often worked with director Tina Leisch and appeared alongside her sister Sandra Selimović. The two sisters are involved in the Roma theatre group Romano Svato as feminist activists and rappers campaigning against racism and for equality. Simonida Selimović speaks German, Romani, Serbian and English.
Ayo Aloba is an actor and musician with Nigerian roots who lives in Vienna. Aged 19 he moved to Great Britain and studied Performing Arts at the Rose Bruford College. After his degree he appeared amongst others in The Extraordinary Equiano (BBC Televison), Happy Family (London Film Academy) or Pentecost (St Leonard’s, Shoreditch/London), as well as numerous other film, music and theatre productions across the UK. Ayo Aloba also runs theatre and percussion workshops in schools and other institutes.
Dioma Mar Dramè grew up in Senegal and Spain. Today she lives in Vienna. Ciao Chérie is her first time in front of the camera. Dioma was discovered by our casting agent Nora Friedel in Vienna whilst talking in a Call Shop in multiple languages simultaneously (Spanish, German, Senegalese).
Esmat Azimi came to Vienna from Afghanistan during his youth. A friend of a friend invited him to take part in a casting session for Ciao Chérie and that’s how ‚Ali’ became his first role!
Isabella Campestrini was born in Vienna. Since her childhood she has been in significant roles in various cinema, television, theatre and radio play productions such as: Auswege (Feature film, Nina Kusturica), Küss mich Prinzessin (Feature film, Michael Grimm), Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald (Theater in der Josefstadt), You drive me crazy Hamlet (Dschungel Wien), Das Matratzenlager (Radio play, Paulus Hochgatterer). Isabella Campestrini is bilingual – native German and second language Croatian/Bosnian/Serbian. She is studying acting at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz and loves playing the piano.
Mahamad Abdiasis is from Mogadishu, Somalia and lives in Vienna. He is a known Somali singer by the name of Alfanan Arwaax Yare. Whilst shooting Ciao Chérie the film crew met Mahamad and his brother on the street. As a result he landed a role in the film.
is an elegant Neo-Burlesque and “Cartoonlesque” performer. Her artistic performance style includes classical burlesque movements and dance combined with theatrical and comical performances. Each act is based on a story that ends with intrinsic messages or an unexpected happy end!
Her pseudonym Vienna Chaconne is an hommage to the city she loves and expresses her elegant baroque approach to the stage: as was the Chaconne –the musical variation and dance popular in the baroque era.
Radosav Jovanović was born in Serbia and grew up in Vienna where he lives and works. To date he has played in various documentaries and radio shows. The role of Boban is his first in a feature film. Radosav Jovanović also assisted the team of Ciao Chérie with translations from Romani, casting, and music research utilizing his great knowledge and experience.
Zoran Šargić lives and works in Serbia and Vienna. Ciao Chérie is his film debut. He speaks Romani , Serbian and German.
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
CASTING DIRECTOR, DRAMATURGICAL COLLABORATION
ARTWORK, EDITING ADVISOR
Gerhard Daurer, Andreas Pils
The Wladigeroff Brothers & Božidar Radenković
Amann Studios Wien
Tremens Film Tonstudio
Nina Kusturica Projects
With the support of
In collaboration with
2017 Ciao Chérie, feature film
2009 Little Alien, feature documentary
2003 Auswege, feature film (Screenplay: Barbara Albert)
2001 Der Freiheit, short film
2000 Draga Ljiljana, short documentary
1999 Wishes, short film
1998 Ich bin der neue Star, short documentary
Nina Kusturica was born in Mostar and she grew up in Sarajevo. She studied directing and editing at the Film Academy Vienna, University of Music and Performing Arts.
Her films premiered at festivals and won awards worldwide, including: Little Alien (2009) Auswege (2003) Draga Ljiljana (2000) at: Mar del Plata, Rotterdam, Berlinale Forum of New Cinema, Max Ophüls prize, Duisburg Film Festival, Premiers Plans Festival d’Angers, Mostra Internacional de Cinema Sao Paulo, Leeds Film Festival and many more.
Nina Kusturica’s retrospectives and films have been programmed in various artistic contexts and internationally distributed.
Alongside filmmaking she is working on her stage-directing projects and holds seminars, workshops and lectures internationally and in Austria at various Universities and Institutes for film, directing and acting.
Michael Schindegger lives and works in Vienna. After training in photography at the Higher Graphical Federal Education and Research Institute in Vienna, he went to Bukarest for a year before studying Cinematography in the class of Christian Berger at the Film Academy Vienna.
Included in Michael Schindelegger’s work as Director of Photography: L’Animale (2018, Director: Katharina Mückstein), Holz Erde Fleisch (2016, Director: Sigmund Steiner), Talea (2013, Director: Katharina Mückstein), Rimini (2007, Director: Peter Jaitz). His debut as a director came in 2008 with the documentary Dacia Express winning ‘Der Goldene Buchstabe’ prize at the Duisburg Film Festival and Best Documentary at film:riss. He directed his second documentary Nr. 7 which was released in cinemas in 2013.
Michael Schindegger is co-founder of the work group and film production company La Banda Film.
The Wladigeroff Brothers re-arranged and re-recorded for Ciao Chérie the
compositions from the current album „The Rag Waltz Time“ in co-operation with Božidar Radenković. Now based in Vienna, the twin brothers Alexander und Konstantin Wladigeroff, coming from a famous Bulgarian music family, attended the Conservatorium in Sofia. Alexander and Konstantin Wladigeroff have received international acclaim from the jazz music world for their virtuosic mix of classical and jazz.
Andi Pils works in a variety of disciplines – sound engineer, sound designer, musician, dj, bassist and also actor. He co-founded the Primitive Studios in Vienna. His film projects include: Shops Around The Corner, Soldate Jeanette (awarded Best Sound Design at the Diagonale 2013) Private Revolutions, Die Geträumten, Das Leben ist keine Generalprobe, Das große Museum amongst others.
Gerhard Daurer lives and works in Vienna. He studied Multimedia Art at the Technical College Salzburg and Sonic Arts at Middlesex University, London. During his studies he specialized in the interplay between picture and sound in audiovisual performance. He then joined the scientific staff at the Department of Science and Technology, University of Vienna from 2008-2009. He has since worked as a freelancer in media designer focusing on editing, sound design and music.
Nora Friedel lives and works in Vienna as an artist and a film maker. After studying photography, she completed her degree in Transmedia Art at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She has been working in film since 2007 in the areas of development, screenplay, casting, production and film agencies. She directed her first narrative short film ‘Mimikri’ in 2016 – awarded with the Thomas Pluch Drehbuch Preis for short and middle length films in 2017.
Marco Antoniazzi was born in Bolzano where he completed his studies at the ZeLIG School for Documentary, Television and New Media.
He studied directing in the class of Peter Patzak at the Film Academy Vienna.
Marco Antoniazzi works as a director and writer. His work includes: Schlagerstar (2013, with Gregor Stadlober; received the ‘Diagonale Audience Award’), Erinnerungen an die Stadt des Kindes (2011), Kleine Fische (received in 2009 the ‘Diagonale Audience Award’).
A Call Shop in the belly of migrant Vienna. People from all over sit in the booths and phone away their hard earned, just to stay in contact with those that are dear to them. The Austrian-Bosnian filmmaker Nina Kusturica has shaped her third film into a wonderfully poetic piece of cinema…
Kusturica tells of the stories, transported through episode-like telephone calls, shared between people from all over the world. The calls all take place in the protagonist’s native languages. On the other end of the line, based on the director’s cleverly prepared dialogue, the respondents present themselves as mere sounding boards -phantoms that take imaginary shape in the minds of the viewer…
The director’s choice of musical accompaniment is a stroke of genius: the nursery rhymes and children’s songs from each character’s respective homeland imbue the picture with the sense of an inner voice. The songs, sung, hummed and recited by the actors themselves require no instrumental backing – giving them a tangible intimacy which contrasts the sometimes tragi comical conversations and eccentric Call Shop reality…
Kusturica’s ‚Ciao Chérie’ is a lesson in humanistic thinking for all those stuck in the ‚us versus them’ paradigm.
People come and go, seat themselves in one the glass booths, send money home to their families and tell their stories on the phone. Once the door is shut, the glass booth becomes something of a confessional box – a place of complete, stark honesty. Joyful faces, tears, awkward moments of silence or arguments are all captured. While they focus their attention on the other end of the line, yearning, the protagonists become isolated from their immediate environment. They seek solace in the confessional. For me though, as soon as the booth is vacated, the call paid for, and reality resumed – the isolation grows, further from the emotions and the ultra-reality left in the booth – the reality left in Japan, Syria, Nigeria, Italy and other countries.
The yearning for their counterpart, the power of language and silence is what makes Kusturica’s stylistically so interesting. She is fascinated with the power of voices – voices that cannot lie over the telephone, that hide nothing – even when they try.
The film, with it’s clever soundtrack, is a little like a trip around the world in a dream. The images show almost exclusively portrait shots of the callers – and yet they grab me and pull into the world they create.
Uncut Movies, April 2017
The telephone as an intimacy device and as an apparatus of alienation. Bonds, one wished to uphold, break apart. Fled, stranded, arrived, to stay or just wire some quick money. Words contain whole worlds as they generate a sometimes comical and eccentric microcosm – all part of the narrative universe of Ciao Chérie.
The combination of conversation and picture (Camera: Michael Schindegger) opens doors to places only thoughts had resided. Spaces bigger than the lines spoken, bigger than the confession booth, than your own four walls of perception, the confines of loneliness and the edges of happiness.
Where all is heard and only heard, every word becomes important, every breath, pause and intonation.
Diagonale Catalogue, March 2017
Photocredits: all © NK Projects
Video- and Audio- Clips will be made available upon request to moc.s1520928464tcejo1520928464rp-kn1520928464@emoc1520928464lew1520928464
Use is free of charge when a photograph is credited “Photo: NK Projects“ and it is used for reporting about the film.
Please be aware that these photos are available exclusively for work associated with the film, duplication for other purposes is prohibited without the permission of the NK Projects.
Geschäftsführerin: Nina Kusturica
Firmenbuchgericht: Handelsgericht Wien
Firmenbuchnummer: FN 412605y
Behörde gem. ECG (E-Commerce Gesetz): Magistratisches Bezirksamt des V. Bezirkes
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