2020 (2021)

Friedl vom Gröller Kubelka

2020 Friedl vom Gröller Kubelka Austria16mm > digital2 min 2021

What goes missing in a time when mouths are covered by masks? — Ivana Miloš

My parents called it a nightmare. 

I called it fear––

the way exhaustion took my hand

and led me down gray hallways

into the presence of 


a forest of them not attached to faces,

opening and closing––but why? 

And when I woke shouting

into my room dissected

by the razor sheen of moonlight,

the faces of my parents and sisters––

whole faces complete with eyes––

hovered over my sweat-soaked bed.

Behind them in fabric

of co-mingling darkness and light

the mouths still pulsed,

stunning my brain into silence. – Jim Peterson, “The Origin of Mouths” 

Streaming Details

This film is available to stream globally.

Program Partners

This film is co-presented with sixpackfilm.

Image credits: all artworks, stills, and portraits courtesy of the artist © Friedl vom Gröller Kubelka and sixpackfilm. Special thanks to Dietmar Schwärtzler and Gerard Weber.

about the artist

Friedl vom Gröller Kubelka (Austria) was born in London in 1946 and spent her childhood between East Berlin and Vienna. She made her first films in the late 1960s while still a student, asking her models to look into the camera for the duration of one 100ft roll of 16mm film. She graduated with a diploma in industrial photography from Vienna’s Graphic Instruction and Research Institute (1971) and later completed her psychoanalytic training (1997) with particular focus on concerns of the human psyche, including humour and shame. Vom Gröller Kubelka has completed 80+ films since 1968, which have screened extensively at festivals, museums, and galleries, including Munich Film Museum, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Anthology Film Archives, Palais de Tokyo, Documenta 12, International Film Festival Hong Kong, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austrian Film Museum, Centre Pompidou, mumok, Galerie Fotohof, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Generali Foundation, Toronto International Film Festival, Berlinale, Tate Modern, and her first dual photography and film retrospectives at Media City Film Festival in 2010. She is the recipient of the Austrian Art Prize for Artistic Photography (1999), Grand Austrian State Prize for Artistic Photography (2005), and the Austrian Art Prize for Film (2016). She is founder of two educational institutions: the Friedl Kubelka School for Artistic Photography (1990) and the Friedl Kubelka School for Independent Film (2006). She is founding editor of the publishing imprint Antiphon Editions. Among the many publications devoted to her 40+ year career, including Portraits of American Independent Filmmakers (1974-1981) released by Re:voir and The Film Gallery (2006), two significant monographs about her work have been published: Friedl Kubelka vom Gröller: Photography & Film (Christophe Keller Editions, 2013), and Friedl Kubelka vom Gröller: One Is Not Enough: Photography and Film (Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König and INDEX Editions, 2018). Vom Gröller Kubelka has made eight appearances at MCFF. She lives and works in Vienna, Austria.