"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. John Cook (1935-2001), 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 that 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 that 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.

SLOW SUMMER deals with personal states of mind and the filmmaker's very own existential entanglements (one of which is, crucially, the stranger's view of the semi-familiar city of Vienna) 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.

In CLINCH, Cook draws the consequences from his previous work. He turns to the working class again, not in a documentary mode but by adapting a novel by Helmut Zenker. CLINCH is no longer a formal hybrid but finds its own modus operandi: neorealism, Vienna style. The film is lyrical, but down-to-earth, its tone is precise without crossing the border to the social grotesque as so many Austrian films unfortunately do. And above all: it shows solidarity with the main protagonist without turning him into a poster hero.

John Cook was, in his own words, "Viennese by choice", and his four films hold a unique position in Austrian Cinema: independently produced, featuring a cast and crew of friends and shot on modest budgets. This 2- disc set presents restored versions of Cook’s three landmark films produced in the 1970s (two features and a documentary), as well as extra materials.



Format: DVD-PAL / Region 0
(No Regional Code)


(Austria, 1976)

Director: John Cook in collaboration with Susanne Schett
Screenplay: John Cook and Michael Pilz
Cinematographers: John Cook, Helmut Boselmann & Michael Pilz
Editors: John Cook & Susanne Schett.
Sound: John Cook, Helmut Boselmann, Michael Pilz & Susanne Schett
Music: Mathias Rüegg (opening theme)
Collaborators: Helmut Boselmann, Peter Erlacher, Gertie Fröhlich, Thomas Kloss, Herbert Koller, Helga Wolf
Producer: Michael Pilz, with support by Rudolf Klingohr, Intersport (Vienna)
Cast: John Cook, Helmut Boselmann, Eva Grimm, Hilde Pilz, Michael Pilz, Günter Duda, Elisabeth Boselmann, Ernst Kloss, Marieli Fröhlich, Franz Madl, Miriam & Katharina Pilz

• 83 minutes 
• Super 8mm blow up to 35mm
• B&W
• Sound


(Austria, 1978) 

Director: John Cook. 
Screenplay: John Cook & Helmut Zenker, based on the novel Das Froschfest, by Helmut Zenker
Cinematographer: Helmut Pirnat
Editor & Assistant Director: Susanne Schett
Sound: Herbert Koller & Peter Paschinger.
Sound Editor: Peter Müller
Producer: Rudolf Klingohr
Production Company: ebf-Film (Vienna)
Cast: Hermann Juranek, Christa Schubert, Franz Schuh, Waltrau Misak, Johanna Froidl, Karl Martinek, Ernst Neuhold, Elisabeth & Joseph Boslemann, Werner Juranek, S. Marion

• 97 minutes 
• Color
• Sound
• 35mm


Bonus Material

(Austria, 1972-1973)

Director: John Cook

• 50 minutes 
• B&W

(Austria, 2008)

Realisation: Michael Baute, Volker Pantenburg & Stefan Pethke

• 12 minutes
• B&W


Total Running Time: 04:03:25 (2 Discs)

Language: German. English & French subtitles

Booklet Text: Dominik Kamalzadeh and Michael Loebenstein (Bilingual German & English)

Published By: Edition Filmmuseum

Institutional Price: $300 (plus shipping).

To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.