28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Elfriede Jelinek – Language Unleashed
Elfriede Jelinek – Language Unleashed
Elfriede Jelinek – Language Unleashed

Elfriede Jelinek – Language Unleashed

director: Claudia Müller
original title: Elfriede Jelinek – Die Sprache von der Leine lassen
country: Germany, Austria
year: 2022
running time: 96 min.


Snow-capped mountain tops, picturesque villages, wholesome towns… this is the Austria we know from travel books and travelogues. And it’s the same Austria whose small-town morals have been taking a beating from the critical sting of writer and playwright Elfriede Jelinek since the 1960s. However, Müller's documentary-portrait doesn't rely solely on the tropes of a biopic about this (in)famous literary figure. Instead, the film searches for reasons why the author's assertion of past unfinished business enraged the people of Austria so much that they turned their backs on the provocative Nobel Prize winner. Personal confessions become political. A language experiment becomes a political tool. And history becomes a shadow that will forever hover over distraught Austrian citizens until they choose to confront it head-on.

“I have the feeling that since my childhood I haven´t truly experienced anything anymore or anything that would somehow be of importance. I think that in general the artist tanks up so much frustration and pain in childhood that it´s enough for the rest of his life.”


Claudia Müller (* 1964) is a German documentary filmmaker who focuses primarily on film portraits of prominent artistic figures. She is noted for dedicating the expansive television series Künstlerinnen (2016–2019) to female artists. Following her university studies in Berlin and Cologne, she went on to collaborate with Peter Greenaway and Krzysztof Zanussi.

more about film

director: Claudia Müller
cast: Elfriede Jelinek
producer: Martina Haubrich, Claudia Wohlgenannt
photography: Christine A. Maier
editing: Mechthild Barth
music: Eva Jantschitsch
sound design: Johannes Schmelzer-Ziringer
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Creative Europe Media
Česká televize
Český rozhlas