For the eponymous Rita, a turbulent adolescence is fraught with cruelty. When she is not being harassed by the more popular girls at school, she is at the best of times ignored. Her budding sexuality pushes her first into the arms of a much older bus driver and then a young boy, the seriously ill son of her neighbors. She is unable to find a common language with her parents, perhaps because her father, who is constantly yelling, and her emotionally distant mother do not actually talk to her. This could be yet another story about the typical problems of growing up were it not for the fact that the consequences of Rita's teen angst are becoming more and more dramatic. In her debut film featuring amateur actors-following in the footsteps of Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl-Jessica Hausner peeks behind the curtains of people's homes in the Austrian provinces. The young protagonist's alienation is reflected in the raw images, whose sparingness evokes the principles of Dogme 95.
An Austrian director and screenwriter, Jessica Hausner is the daughter of the Viennese realist painter Rudolf Hausner and the half-sister of set designer and painter Xenia Hausner. She has been running the coop99 production company since 1999 along with Barbara Albert, Antonin Svoboda, and Martin Gschlacht. She made her directorial debut in 2001 with the full-length feature Lovely Rita, a portrait of a young girl trapped in a complex web of family relations. The film earned her not only the attention of audiences and the film community but also a nomination for a Prix Fassbinder, the European Film Academy's prize for the discovery of the year. Her subsequent films premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Festival in Cannes (Mad Love, two years ago, about an affair between Heinrich von Kleist and Henrietta Vogel). In 2016, Hausner became a member of the jury for that same section of the festival. Her most successful work remains Lourdes (2009), which was an award winner at festivals in Venice (FIPRESCI, SIGNIS, and a Sergio Trasatti Award), Warsaw, and during the LUX Awards, and Sweden's Guldbagge Awards. One of the distinguishing features of Hausner's films is the extraordinary care that is put into the composition of each frame (she works on a regular basis with cinematographer Martin Gschlacht), which adds precision to the development of her multilayered narratives.
2001 Lovely Rita
2014 Szalona miłość / Amour fou