Angst – 1983 – Banned in Europe!


I’ve always thought that Angst was a German movie but it’s really Austrian. It’s in the German language though. Thar creates a language barrier for me since I don’t speak the language and have to rely on subtitles. But on the other hand, neither French nor Italian are languages that I master either and I need subtitles for those movies too! No big deal really, but it is easier if you don’t have to read the dialog. Luckily Angst isn’t a movie that relies too much on dialogue, or is it?

Well, there isn’t much dialog in Angst. There are monologues though. We constantly hear the killer thinking to himself explaining what he is about to do and what his plans are. There is also a voiceover belonging to a fictional psychiatrist evaluating the mental state of “the Psychopath”. I think the killer is only referring to this in the credits. There are no actual names. And the names aren’t very important anyway.

Inside the mind

The whole movie takes place inside the mind of the killer I would say. That is, it doesn’t manifest itself as fantasy. These are real live (fictional) events going on but the killer is so caught up in himself and the crimes he plans to do that it seems like a euphonious world inside his way of seeing reality. Angst is a strange movie, no doubt about it. I don’t think you have seen anything like it really. Of course, there are kind of similar plots where we get to follow the killer and learn about him in the first person. But this is really sickening and highly sadistic.

And it is in the sadistic inclinations that Angst finds its strength. It’s fascinating that we – the audience, can find such fascination in such a depraved story. Maybe it’s just me but I find it fascinating what some people can do to others to satisfy their own twisted sexual cravings. And since there are other movies out there that reflect on the evil and depraved personalities of mankind, I know I cannot be the only one.

It starts off with a little background about the killer himself. We learn that he’s had an extremely troubled upbringing and has committed lots of sexually sadistic and violent crimes and has spent more than half his life in prison. We also learn that he has now served his last prison sentence, I think it was a ten years sentence, as was set free. He immediately starts to plan his actions. He has no intention not to keep killing and violating others to satisfy his twisted needs. We also learn that he has never really been on good terms with his own psyche.

Not an easy movie

Angst isn’t an easy movie to watch though. I read somewhere that it was banned all over Europe when it came out in 1983. I’m not really surprised about it. I think censoring movies are wrong of course and I do fin Angst to be a genuine piece of art film. It doesn’t just tell a story, it also projects a lot of feelings of disgust at the audience. Obviously, the theme of the movie helps ding that but also the crafting of the art piece. There are in general a few things I noticed right away. The music is usually very soothing whilst the imagery is very violent. As I see it, that music isn’t there for us to enhance our feeling of what we see. It’s there because the main character, “the Psychopath” feels like his actions are so reliving and exciting that he’s in his inner calm.

At the same time, it’s obvious that he, something is anything but calm while he does his deeds. He obviously gets sexually aroused, to say the least! And he has no plans to stop what his doing. When he finally felt really good about himself.

In Hindsight

In hindsight, the violence that Angst allegedly was initially banned for is not that over the top if you compared it with some more modern movies. But the tone of the movie makes it very serious. There’s no “entertainment violence” in Angst. It’s just ray sadism and it’s not very easy to look at. The main part is portrayed by Erwin Leder and he does a brilliant job. I can really feel his pain and I can feel what he feels throughout the movie. It’s pretty rare to be able to project such emotions through the screen, but it’s managed here. I think that the combination of the fantastic cinematography makes this movie really great!

I have hold back a little on the rating though, just because it is a very hard film to watch. Not the violence itself, but it is pretty slow paced and it’s easy to lose attention when there are lots of inner thoughts being processed by the monologues, the music, and the violence. Maybe it’s just that art films are harder to watch since there is so much more to them than the obvious plot?

Great movie nevertheless!

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