• Golden Globe Awards

Once Were Rebels (Austria)

Let’s make the world a better place. A premise that we all discuss with friends, sitting around the dinner table, drinking one too many glasses of wine. The thought is enticing: who would not want to contribute to saving the world? Even when it is just to feel better about ourselves. We all engage in this theoretical exercise, and as long as it remains theoretical, we are safe.
But what if it becomes real? What if we are faced with a situation where we have to step up or give up? Such is the theme of Once Were Rebels, director Johanna Moder’s second feature film. Two well-situated couples spend an evening together in their hometown Vienna. Helene (Julia Jensch) is a judge with two lively pre-teen daughters, her husband Jakob (Manuel Rubey) is a bit of a loner, a wanna-be musician and songwriter who needs his creative space to achieve the success that has so far eluded him. Helene asks their friend Volker (Marcel Mohab) who is on his way to Russia for a conference, to bring money to their mutual fried Pavel (Tambet Tuisk), who is in trouble.
Volker decides spontaneously to bring Pavel, his wife Anna and baby son Vassili back to Vienna without realizing the events he is about to set in motion. Jakob has retreated to the country where he has a second home, to find the solitude that affords him the time to write. Helene, overwhelmed by her job, dumps the Russian family there. Volker’s girlfriend – by far the most likeable character – decides to help.
Once Were Rebels won the Max Ophül Award for best director and the jury prize at the Zurich Film Festival.