What was the reason to look at the time around 1900 and compare it to the present time?
The turn of the century is for someone like me, who comes from Vienna and lives here, an epoch in which decisive things have happened. I wanted to get to know this time better, and for this I needed first-hand sources. You can’t interview someone from this period, you can read the literature, but I wanted to get a sense for “everyday life” and get a feeling for the language of the time through what was written in the newspapers.
And then I wanted to look at this region as it is in the present time. But not only look and compare, but get to know people and their daily routines, their traditions, worries, stories and joys. About a 100 years ago this area was all one big country. Vienna was the capital. And I realized that I hardly knew anything about it.
What does New World mean for you?
Paul Rosdy: New World is always a region where people are drawn to start a new life. That happened very much in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. For me “New World” is a mind opener. The old films and old texts were for me a new world, the people, the languages, all opened a new horizon for me.
Big theme in the film is the music.
I love music and always wanted it as a strong theme in the film. I don’t know all these languages, but one can communicate through music very well. It touches all the people, whether or not you understand the text. You think about your own life and the life of others and you ask yourself: What is this life, this life I’m in? So beautiful and terrible at the same time… so sad and hopeful at the same time. I wanted to make a film that carries these feelings, feelings that we all carry in us.
The episode in Stanislau goes beyond regular capturing of everyday life, here it goes about the more recent history and the destiny of the Jewish people in this town.
You look at 1900 and today and try to find an explanation, and the answers are meeting in the middle. From a political and historical perspective the middle was the Holocaust, followed by Communism. These decisive historical events were not the subject of the film, but they are very much to be felt in everyday life – today.