It is just now Anniversary edition of the Salzburg Festival came to an end, there is already an inside film about it. Not a documentary, but an ironic comedy, totally fictional and yet so stylish and appropriate to the setting that it is a pleasure: The presumption of innocence (ARD) by Michael Sturminger. It’s about “Me Too” in the theater world, interwoven with a new production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” on the occasion of “100 Years of the Salzburg Festival”. The conductor of this opera, the title hero of which is a sexually abusive devourer of women, is one himself. No, not Teodor Currentzis!
The star conductor in the film is called Marius Atterson and represents the old white man in his patriarchal arrogance. Several women get together to get back at him or fry him one by one. Brigitte Hobmeier, for example, briefly with an umbrella. This backstage comedy is also a campaign of revenge, section “Female Revenge”. Ulrich Tukur plays the maestro, who is spoiled for power and success, with virtuosity because he does not denounce the character or caricature it as a cheap Dieter Wedel imitation, which would be easy. His Atterson is difficult to bear in his prepotency, but he is also personable, he has charm and wit. And he has a mother’s problem, personified in the great Christine Ostermayer, who is courted by his side as the blind “Maman Clarisse”, in the Hotel Sacher as at every champagne reception.
As soon as the ex-wife has arrived in Salzburg, the war of the roses begins immediately
The big festival crisis sets in when the “Don Giovanni” director Roth (juicy short appearance by Simon Schwarz) gets such a fit of rage during rehearsals that he has to go to psychiatry. Should occur. Beate Zierau, Atterson’s ex-wife (Catrin Striebeck), is hired as a substitute director. One has not parted on good terms. No sooner have we arrived in Salzburg than the War of the Roses starts again. Samples regularly burst and production is at risk. The festival director Winterblum (August Zirner) and the festival president Gebetsreuther (Michou Friesz) have to constantly appease, pull the strings from behind, distribute flattery and caresses. That has its comedy.
Beate Zierau is a very self-confident, very exhausting, literally powerful woman (and a constant smoker). A prime role for the – really – really cool Catrin Striebeck, who has already made many a man fearful. As an imperious director despot (“It must hurt!”), Zierau is no better than the male alpha animals in the industry. This is a clever trick in this allusive theater business satire, and Striebeck’s play apparently feeds on decades of experience with roaring Chauvi directors. Applause!
The other women don’t have such a sharp profile. For example the pale, anorectic young conductor Karina Samus (Laura de Boer), who is not only Atterson’s master class student, but also pregnant by him. She will still get her big chance at this festival, professionally as well as in love, because there is also Robert Stadlober as a very nice stage manager. Karina’s friend, the agency assistant Ada (Daniela Golpashin), is also hit on by Atterson. For the counter-attack, the two team up with the television journalist Franziska Fink (Marie C. Friedrich), who would like to convict the maestro as a “Me Too” perpetrator and, with full physical effort, uses not very louder means.
Michael Sturminger (script and direction) knows the Salzburg festival business, he is not just that Director of the current “Jedermann”, he has also staged the “Tosca”. The fact that he knows what madness is going on is a great benefit for his film, which also lives from the fact that it was shot on original locations. It really goes right into the heart of the Festspielhaus, right down to the management offices. Although the comedy lacks the step to a really big hit, it gets stuck in the television-friendly feel-good comedy. But she is witty, no question about it, and also superbly cast. And how cleverly it is played with motifs and quotes from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” is an extra bonus for connoisseurs.
The presumption of innocence, Das Erste, Wednesday, 8:15 p.m., and in the Media library