Panorama | Vanguard
Before last year’s Viennale, long-time festival director Hans Hurch suddenly passed away, leaving a film festival rudderless, and friends and family in mourning. One of these friends was Argentine filmmaker Gastón Solnicki, who has screened all of his prior films in Vienna—as well as in Vancouver—and who felt the need to grieve Hurch by committing their relationship to film. In this unclassifiable work shot during last year’s Viennale, Solnicki plays a loosely fictionalized version of himself, as he wanders like a flâneur through the vestiges of a post-empire Vienna, where the signs of death and of Hurch present themselves everywhere—from the café Hurch used to haunt to the tailor of his black silk suits to the film festival he directed from 1997 to 2016. To take off from the inherently fascinating and somewhat narcissistic undertaking, one could say that the film deals with Solnicki’s three favourite things: classical music, Hans Hurch, and himself. (The title comes from a contemporary piece by Salvatore Sciarrino that Solnicki films being rehearsed by the Klangforum Wien.) Interspersed throughout is a voiceover of Hurch commenting on a rough version of Solnicki’s earlier family-diary film, Papirosen, over one long evening in Buenos Aires. In Introduzione all’oscuro, Solnicki has made a moving, unique tribute to a friend, and to the idea of friendship itself.