Prater | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR

Vienna's Wurstelprater (“Prater” for short) is one of the oldest and strangest amusement parks in the world, a place where high-tech midway rides adjoin creaking arcades of creepy automata, funhouses full of archaic racial effigies, and cheery beer gardens. Built from archival footage and artfully composed video, this discursive 2007 documentary by Ulrike Ottinger is an exercise in poetry rather than history, but I'd gladly have traded some of her musings on carnival aesthetics for a little context (for example, why did Hitler's SS raze the park in 1945 but not before?). Still, this is an engaging ride that yields a strong sense of the park and what it's meant for generations of visitors. In German with subtitles. 105 min.
Director: Ulrike Ottinger
Writer: Ulrike Ottinger
Producer: Kurt Mayer
Cast: Elfriede Jelinek, Elfriede Gerstl, Ursula Storch, Werner Schwarz, Herbert J. Wimmer, Veruschka von Lehndorff, Robert Kaldy-Karo and Peter Fitz

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