In the Austrian elections of October 1999, Jörg Haider’s extreme right-wing FPÖ party received more than a quarter of the vote and became the second largest party in the country. Europe was stunned: the extreme right-wing movement was back! ZUR LAGE, though, proves that xenophobia has never been absent from Austria; it demonstrates the extent to which it is ingrained with the generations. The Austrians who are introduced in the documentary are anti-gay, anti-Semitic, anti-emancipation, anti-Islam and not interested in politics. How does the Austrian family view itself, a presenter asks them. ‘Normal’ or ‘natural’, are the answers. Still today, there is no room for ‘other’ people in Austria, the filmmakers reveal. In six chapters – hitchhiking across the country, making house calls and a series of portraits – they expose what makes the ‘ordinary’ Austrian tick. The film has no interviewer’s voice, nor a voice-over, but it does have one chapter with a presenter.
The wry style of director Ulrich Seidl (HUNDSTAGE, TIERISCHE LIEBE), who in addition to Chapters 2, 3 and 6 made the prologue and epilogue, left a distinct mark on the production. Filmmaker Barbara Albert (SLIDIN’, ALLES BUNT UND WUNDERBAR) was responsible for Chapter 5, documentary filmmaker Michael Glawogger (FRANKREICH, WIR KOMMEN!) was in charge of Chapter 1, scriptwriter Michael Sturminger made Chapter 4.