Josef Dabernig

Pastry Friday (2022)

An ominous atmosphere haunts the films of Josef Dabernig, including his newest. It shows a bright little moment in the uniform everyday overshadowed by high-rise apartments somewhere in Central Europe—a landscape whose infrastructures and inhabitants are slowly eroding under the pressures of a hard life.

In such a forbidding place, customers meet to have coffee and cake in a pastry shop. Not only prams but also pensioners’ walkers are parked by the door, as people from all generations congregate there on a Friday afternoon. The score unfolds to close-ups of the protagonists’ arms, hands, and faces, with cuts to the seductive sweets—moments of transgression rescued from court cultures and spread throughout the former empire, be it Austria, Hungary, or the Czech Republic, where the film was made.

Then and now, these comfort pastries represent short, delicious instances of life—aesthetic experiences in miniature, themselves a little suspect—counteracting the overwhelming sense of threat and finitude that always dwells slightly beyond reality’s edges.

Josef Dabernig (1956, Kötschach-Mauthen, Austria) is an artist and filmmaker. Initially trained as a sculptor, he has been producing short films since the mid-1990s. They often use the same cast of characters to explore the minor magic of everyday life through a highly conceptual filmic lens. Dabernig’s work has been featured internationally in solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, and biennials, including Manifesta 10 (2014), St. Petersburg; Bergen Assembly (2013), 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012); 50th and 49th Venice Biennials (2003 and 2001); and Manifesta 3 (2000), Ljubljana. His work is held in public collections and is regularly featured at film festivals such as International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Toronto International Film Festival, and Venice Film Festival. Dabernig lives in Vienna.

S16 mm film transferred to HD video, stereo sound, 11′48″

Written, directed, edited, and produced by Josef Dabernig
Production assistant Czech Republic: Ivana Hrončeková
Camera: Christian Giesser
Sound design: Michael Palm
Cast (in order of appearance): Štefan Kurbel, Hedwig Saxenhuber (service), Kurt Fellinger, Georg Schöllhammer (table 5), Lore Dabernig, Otto Dabernig, Isabella Hollauf (table 4), Jolana Chalupová, René Chalupová, Ivana Hrončeková (table 3), Markéta Lisá, Filip Cenek, Matěj Cenek, Jakub Cenek (table 2), Dobroslav Chrobák, Emilie Chrobáková, Ondřej Chrobák, Jana Písaříková, Jiří Valoch (table 1)
Location: Cukrárna Severka, Blansko
Film development and scan: cinegrell GmbH
Color grading: Matthias Tomasi
Re-recording mixer: Alexander Koller
Postproduction: The Grand Post

Commissioned and coproduced steirischer herbst ’22

Supported by the Federal Ministry of Arts and Culture, Civil Service and Sport (BMKOES) / Innovative Film Austria