Press Reviews

.... Sita‘s way of looking at the world is wide open and yet uncertain, which is reflected immediately in the restless super-16mm hand camera images produced by Bogumil Godfrejów (the director of photography, of Polish origin, who has worked with Hans-Christian Schmid on many occasions, most recently with Was bleibt). Transposing fractured moods and sensibilities between people in atmospherically effective images supported by music which possesses the essential similarities – that has always been one of Barbara Albert‘s strengths. And it is abundantly evident here. Albert depicts Sita’s budding relationship with an Israeli photographer in a few fine strokes, adding another marvellous touch – apparently casually – with her collection of disco scenes.
Roman Scheiber, ray Filmmagazin
... Family remains a central theme, as evidenced by a film which is well worth seeing: Barbara Albert’s "The Dead and The Living". It is set largely in Berlin and tells the story of the young, lively Sita, who begins to investigate the darker side of her beloved grandfather – and a family secret which has been under wraps for years – when the old man dies. The film has a few settings and themes too many. But above all, this is a film that does many things absolutely correctly. Precisely because Albert doesn't shrink from aiming for perfection and dramatic correctness, because she narrates subjectively and full of passion, "The Dead and The Living" has ended up as a highly thrilling film. Alongside the courage of this wonderful, very special director, and her consistently fantastic ability with music – the high point here is an electro version of Purcell‘s "King Arthur" - this film bears witness to the talents of the main protagonist: Anna Fischer avoids many pitfalls here, and she is definitely an actor you can't see enough of.
Rüdiger Suchsland, Schwäbische Zeitung, writing about the Hof Film Festival
"The Dead and The Living" is Barbara Albert’s most self-assured film to date. The writer/director approaches this tricky material with cinematic lightness of touch: she allows events to flow without ever becoming didactic. Consequently the film is a great cinematic drama which not only casts a glance back to the past but also confronts extremely modern themes: the search for one's own identity (for Sita), and the longing of her generation, deeply influenced by immigration and a multi-cultural environment, for a common European identity. Well worth seeing.
Celluloid, Gunther Baumann
The most original film in competition as regards form and content, "Blancanieves" may well stand a real chance of a major prize. This also applies to Barbara Albert’s drama "The Dead and The Living", which features a young woman of Austrian/Rumanian origins researching into the dark past of her grandfather, who was an SS officer in Auschwitz during the Nazi period. The way this film depicts the old story of guilt in the descendants of such criminals as an artistic quest, thus conveying to a young audience a great deal about the barbaric period without descending into the didactic, is miles away from "Venuto al mondo", where a quest ends up as nothing more than an allegation.
Applause for director Barbara Albert
The film "The Dead and The Living" was presented at the San Sebastian Film Festival. The world premiere of Barbara Albert’s latest film was greeted with great applause at the San Sebastian International Film Festival on Tuesday. In this movie the successful Austrian director deals with the themes of guilt, suppression and inability to speak as she tells the story of Sita, a young Austrian woman with Rumanian roots.
Barbara Albert in competition at San Sebastian
"The Dead and The Living", an Austrian/Polish/German coproduction featuring Anna Fischer and August Zirner in the leading roles, tells the story of the young Sita, whose personal voyage leads her not only into her family's own past, burdened as it is by guilty secrets, but also into the abyss of European society today, according to the coop99 production notes. This drama about homelessness and self-discovery, hope and responsibility, involves journeys to Berlin and Vienna as well as Warsaw and Romania. At one time Albert, with her film "Nordrand", shared responsibility for the rise of the New Austrian Cinema, and in 2006 her production "Fallen" was in competition in Vienna.