"To live in Vienna, you either have to be cynical or stupid," says the director's alter ego at the end of the semi-documentary feature Slow Summer. A summary as temperamental as the film which deals with personal state...展开s of mind, the filmmaker's very own existential entanglements one of which is crucially the stranger's view of the semi-familiar city of Vienna but yet aims at an insight that goes beyond the private. This is only one of many self-reflective double entendres in a work rather unusual in Austrian cinema.
John Cook, a Canadian fashion photographer who had ended up in Vienna, was certainly neither cynical nor stupid. With only four films, made between 1972 and 1982, he gave Austrian cinema a taste of the innovative film movements which had flourished in other European countries decades before.
Slow Summer was shot on a minimal budget on Super-8 film (a 35mm blow-up was produced for the theatrical release). It positions itself close to the "real" life of its protagonists, a loosely assembled Viennese Bohème characterized by idleness and aimless drifting. One summer scene after the other unfolds in a documentary manner, framed by a film-in-film scenario which makes the construction apparent. The scenes are ruled by intensities those of the characters, but also of the mood of the day. The film is about nothing but then about everything: an image of time, the reflection of mental states that continuously change, and almost in passing it's also a portrait of the city and the life hidden in its alleys.