Where I Live

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Where I Live – Ilse Aichinger in Film

  • Tue 20 Jan 2015
  • 7:00PM
Imported 2075
Imported 2075

Austrian Cultural Forum London

28 Rutland GateLondon SW7 1PQ


T 020 7225 7300

F 020 7225 7300

E office@acflondon.org


Stillness, observing and the absurd are the secrets behind Ilse Aichinger’s poetry, as brought to life in the film Where I Live. The film was shaped by the experience of seeing Vienna through Ilse Aichinger’s eyes. It can be viewed as a parable for her life in Vienna during the war and post-war years. The film not only features never- before-seen correspondence between Isle and her twin sister Helga Aichinger, it also includes Super-8 footage shot by Aichinger which has never been shown.

The pictures blend profoundly with Ilse Aichinger’s poetic language, her themes, her existential questions: how does one carry on living, having lost almost one’s entire family to the Holocaust? How does one keep living, cynical of a world that has, as a daily experience, branded one with a consciousness of loss?

Austria, 2014, German with English subtitles, 81min.
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Ilse Aichinger and her twin sister Helga were born on  01.11.1921 in Vienna. After Nazi Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, their Jewish mother lost her employment as a physician. Helga was able to emigrate to the Unied Kingdom with a "Kindertransport" (Refugee Children Movement), but the outbreak of WW2 prevented the  planned departure of the rest of the family. The younger siblings of the mother as well as the grandmother were deported in 1942 and murdered in the concentration camp Maly Trostinec in Minsk.

During the war Ilse Aichinger was deployed as a forced labourer in Vienna. In 1945 she started to study medicine which she interrupted two years later in order to finish her  novel "Die größere Hoffnung" ("Herod's Children"), which was published in 1948. In 1952 her short story "Spiegelgeschichte" won the award of the Group 47. 1953 she married the German  lyric poet and writer of radio plays  Günther Eich. Together with their children Clemens and Mirjiam they lived in Upper Bavaria and later in Großgmain near Salzburg. In 1972 Günther Eich died. From 1984 until 1988 Aichinger lived in Frankfurt/Main and since 1988 she has been living in Vienna, Austria again.

Ilse Aichinger wrote lyric, prose and radio plays. Her complete works were published in 8 volumes by S. Fischer Verlag Frankfurt/Main.

Her work in English translations:

"The bound Man and other stories" (Secker&Warburg, London 1955)

"Herod's Children", (Atheneum, New York 1963), "Selected stories and dialogs" (Pergamon Press, Oxford, New York 1966), "Selected Poetry and Prose" (Logbridge-Rhodes, Durnago, Col. 1983)

Important awards:

Preis der Gruppe 47 (1952), Nelly-Sachs-Preis (1971), Georg-Trakl-Preis (1979), Petrarca-Preis (1982), Franz-Kafka-Preis (1983), Marie-Luise-Kaschnitz-Preis (1984), Weilheimer Literaturpreis (1988), Manès-Sperber-Preis (1991), Solothurner Literaturpreis (1991), Großer Literaturpreis der Bayerischen Akademie der Schönen Künste (1991), Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis für Literatur (1995)