“Welcome to Siegheilkirchen” is an animated joke about post-war Austria. What attracted director Marcus H. Rosenmüller to it.
“Welcome to Siegheilkirchen” is a satirical animated film inspired by the drawing style, life and world view of Austrian cult cartoonist and provocateur Manfred Deix (1949-2016). Marcus H. Rosenmüller (48, “Who dies earlier is dead longer”) and animation specialist Santiago López Jover (41) directed the cinema fun, which is not entirely suitable for children.
That’s what “Welcome to Siegheilkirchen” is about
In Siegheilkirchen, a town in the arch-Catholic hinterland of the Alpine republic, the son of well-behaved innkeepers, known to everyone as just a “snotty boy”, quarreled with the stuffy narrowness of his homeland in the 1960s. But his talent for drawing, which is unstoppable, not only provides an outlet for his own displeasure. He also entertains his classmates with his nude and pornographic drawings, makes the authorities laugh and finally saves his beloved, the beautiful Mariolina, from the malicious pursuits of some die-hards…
Rosenmüller: “Deix is a cult and so is Austrian film”
In an interview with spot on news, Rosenmüller explains what particularly appealed to him about the film project: “Clearly the great script [Martin Ambrosch, Red.] and the challenge of being able to make an animated film for the first time,” he says and continues: ” Deix is a cult and so is Austrian film. Of course it’s a pleasure to be a part of it.”
Rosenmüller has been involved in the project since 2012. To what extent was the artist Manfred Deix, who died in 2016, involved in the development of the film? “Deix has released the script,” says the star director. In addition, almost the entire casting was taken from his oeuvre, “his characters from the caricatures are our actors,” he explains, adding: “His watercolor drawing style is the aesthetics of the animation and his youth biography is the plot points of the story.” Deix also grew up as the son of innkeepers in Böheimkirchen, Lower Austria.
A real film adaptation of the story would have been “difficult”, says Rosenmüller, who has held the dual leadership of the “Cinema and TV Film Direction” course at the University of Television and Film in Munich with director Julia von Heinz (46) since 2020. “Certain scenes, such as the birth scene, could certainly not have been shot in such a real way. Otherwise, the film lives on Manfred Deix’s drawings and the animation is the best implementation of that,” says Rosenmüller.
Intro, finale and the hairdresser scene
“Welcome to Siegheilkirchen” tells with biting humor – “the Monroe of Siegheilkirchen”, shepherd dog “Blondi” – and political explosiveness – racism, die-hards – about the courage to question overly narrow value systems and to live your dreams – and above all that you can never be too young for that.
When asked about his personal favorite scene, Rosenmüller admits: “It’s difficult because I honestly always enjoy so many scenes.” But then he gets specific: “In addition to the highlights in the finale and the intro [birth scene, ed.], I really like the hairdresser scene. On the one hand, it moves me, on the other hand I like the antagonist myself – the hairdresser, Madam Mayor – love to watch their mean malicious doings.”
“Tatort” star Adele Neuhauser in the cast
Some of the well-known actors are behind the animated figures. This is how “Tatort” star Adele Neuhauser (63) speaks in the film as Roma Natascha, whose independence the villagers feel provoked. “It was important to me to convey a calm and provocative eroticism in order to let the hostility towards her bounce off,” explained the Austrian actress in an interview with Hedi Grager.
Natascha is the mother of snotty boy Mariolina. None other than the award-winning “Vorstadtweiber” actress Gerti Drassl (44) slipped into this role. And the no less award-winning Erwin Steinhauer (70, “Single Bells”, “Tatort: Her mit der Marie!”) lent his distinctive voice to the gentle resistance fighter Mr. Marek.
The snot boy’s source of inspiration, the curvy Trude or, as her dubbing artist described it in a video from the distributor, “a man’s dream that has become flesh”, is embodied by Katharina Straßer (38). And as the young protagonist himself, the cinema audience hears the Austrian actor Markus Freistätter (32, “A village defends itself”).
“Welcome to Siegheilkirchen” starts in cinemas on July 7th.