Moments of Resistance

Weaving together current times with the historical in such a way that a polyphonic and simultaneously insistent resonance space arises. Meshing together scattered approaches, actions, attitudes of political dissidence with one another so that a larger, albeit heterogenous tableau begins to take shape. The maxim behind Jo Schmeiser´s Moments of Resistance can be summarized as such; a polyvalent narrative that is likewise clustered around the focus of anti-authoritarianism. To begin with are individual testimonies of contemporary forms of activism, presented by ten conversation partners between Linz, Vienna, and Berlin. Staged at locations that for the women signify resistance, or freedom from discriminating constraints, the statements also stake out a further inflammatory framework, which becomes even more explosive in light of today´s rampant New Right politics. The net expands in space and time — casually, as though of its own accord — back to the 1930s and 1940s: Without comparisons or (senseless) relativizing of the past and present. Instead, echoing in the historical voices, transmitted for the most part via sound documents, is a chorus of women´s resistance that is just as multifaceted as it is situationally split: from the combatants of the "Gruppe Soldatenrat," who tried to convince members of the armed forces to desert during World War II, through to forced laborers who gathered their courage to defend themselves against brutal rural patriarchs. At times, the gaze wanders across current, strangely ambivalent seeming sites such as wine-growing regions, a major printing press, with its largely automatized processes, or the Audimax of the University of Vienna, where cheap labor and knowledge work go hand in hand. Historical artifacts, concise inserts, even political jokes successfully offer counterpoints. As a whole, this renders Moments of Resistance a skillful collective suggestion distributed across space and time, whose power (and current necessity) is found in its productive openness and inconclusiveness. (Christian Höller)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

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Viennale Catalogue Text 2019

“Our town is burning”: it is with those words – written by Mordechai Gebirtig in 1938 – that Jo Schmeiser introduces us to modern resistance.
The film takes us back and forth in time, trying to define what it means to resist, to take action against the injustice and curtailed freedoms that go unnoticed in our daily lives. It is a gallery of portraits united by their resilience and determination, by their lucidity and strength. MOMENTS OF RESISTANCE escapes the usual format of the militant film, creating a space for reflection in which the spectator takes active part.
The film itself is imbued with the same sense of urgency that is expressed by all the characters: an imperative need to stop the fire burning our towns and to call everyone to join in the struggle. The camera seems to take part in this movement, going from places to faces looking for a sign, a trace of the fights being continued every day in an exhausting routine that neither scares nor weakens the fighters on the screen. The film lays pieces of experiences in front of us, recordings, writings, places, and ideas that form themselves little by little into a timeless call to action: a call that resonates in our eyes beyond the end credits. (Rebecca DePas)

Viennale Katalogtext 2019

Wie Widerstand aus weiblicher Sicht aussehen und was er bedeuten kann? Die österreichische Filmkünstlerin und Aktivistin Jo Schmeiser geht anhand unterschiedlicher Frauenporträts der Frage nach, wie widerständige Momente – in Ausnahmesituationen wie im Alltag – zu einer politischen Lebenshaltung werden. Die quer übers Land verstreuten Erzählungen mehrerer Generationen sowie klug eingesetzte historische Tondokumente – vom antifaschistischen Widerstand der vierziger Jahre bis zur Zwangsarbeiterin – formen dabei einen eindringlichen Kanon. Vor allem aber einen Ruf nach Öffentlichkeit, nach Engagement und kollektivem Schutz. Ein filmischer Appell. (Michael Pekler)

Jurybegründung THIS HUMAN WORLD 2019 - Bester Österreichischer Film (Award)


Der diesjährige Preis der Austrian Competition geht an einen Film, der sich mit zeitgeschichtlichen Momenten, aber auch mit Momenten der Gegenwart beschäftigt - Momente in denen Haltung gezeigt wird. Feinfühlig und mit mutiger Montage erzählt die Filmemacherin die Geschichten couragierter Frauen und schafft es einen Dialog über Generationen hinweg herzustellen, der Vergangenheit und Gegenwart verbindet. Es sind Geschichten von individuellen Entscheidungen, die gerade in Zeiten wie diesen, in denen Menschen weltweit mit Situationen konfrontiert sind, die nicht einfach hingenommen werden können, besonders wichtig sind erzählt zu werden. Geschichten, die uns daran erinnern nicht einfach wegzuschauen.

Jury: Marie-Christine Hartig, Kenan Kilic, Vanessa Spanbauer

Orig. Title
98 min
Jo Schmeiser
Orig. Language
English, french
Jo Schmeiser
Jo Schmeiser
Sophie Maintigneux
Nora Czamler
Michael Palm
Dramaturgical Advisor
Karin Berger
PLAESION Film + Vision e.U., Peter Janecek, Jo Schmeiser
Ana Antić, Zahra Khan, Leyla Ariz, Alia Malik, Gergana Mineva, Ines Mahmoud, Judith Umathum, Rúbia Salgado, Marie Paul, María Cristina Boidi
Richard Ferkl
in collaboration with
ORF Film/Fernseh-Abkommen
Supported by
Nationalfonds der Republik Österreich, Wien Kultur MA 7, Otto Mauer Fonds, Zukunftsfonds Republik Österreich, Stadt Graz, Land Steiermark, Land Oberösterreich, Land Niederösterreich, BKA - innovative film
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Festivals (Selection)
Wien - this human world International Human Rights Film Festival
Wien - Viennale - Int. Filmfestwochen
Glasgow – Femspectives, Feminist Film Festival