In the heat of the summer. An isolated house in the country between forests and cornfields. Two ten-year-old twin boys wait for their mother. When she returns home in bandages after aesthetic surgery, nothing is as before. The boys begin to doubt that the woman really is their mother and try to discover the truth. At any cost. After its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala's debut fiction feature went on to become an international success, winning 27 prizes, and becoming a big box office hit in the USA.
Austria 2014 | 99 min | German | 35mm | 1:2.39
Script & directing: Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala | Camera: Martin Gschlacht | Sound: Klaus Kellermann | Art directors: Hannes Salat und Hubert Klausner | Costumes: Tanja Hausner | Casting: Eva Roth | Makeup: Roman Braunhofer and Martha Ruess | Editor: Michael Palm | Music: Compositions by Olga Neuwirth | Production manager: Louis Oellerer | Producer: Ulrich Seidl | Cast: Susanne Wuest, Lukas and Elias Schwarz, Hans Escher, Elfriede Schatz, Karl Purker, Georg Deliovsky, Christian Steindl, Christian Schatz, Erwin Schmalzbauer
Production company: Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion GmbH | Wasserburgergasse 5/7 | 1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 1 310 28 24 | F +43 1 319 56 64 | E firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ulrichseidl.com
World sales: Films Distribution | 5 rue Nicolas Flamel | 75004 Paris, France
T +33 1 531 03 399 | E email@example.com | www.filmsdistribution.com
With support from: ORF (Film/Fernsehabkommen), Austrian Film Institute und Wiener Filmfonds | Funding from: Niederösterreich Kultur und Land
- Director's statement
"A horror movie? An author film? We want our movie Goodnight Mommy to be both. We love physical cinema. Movies that overpower you physically. At the same time, we also want to ask questions that we experience as existential. Questions dealing with life's realities, questions about education and power dynamics in the family and above all about the monstrous in people. We wanted to make a film that says something about our life and at the same time is nerve-racking."
- Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
Born in Vienna in 1965, Veronika Franz studied philosophy and literature. In addition to working as a film journalist for a Viennese Daily, she has since 1997 accompanied the work of Ulrich Seidl as an artistic collaborator. Among other texts, she wrote with Seidl the screenplays for Dog Days (2001), Import Export (2007) and the PARADISE Trilogy (2012). She has also worked as an assistant director and casting agent. The documentary Kern (2012) was both her debut as a director and the first film she made together with Severin Fiala. It was followed by Goodnight Mommy (2015).
Born in Horn in 1985, Severin Fiala studied at the Vienna Film Academy. He worked for the Red Cross and first gained recognition for the award-winning short film Elephant Skin (2009, co-directed with Ulrike Putzer). His first collaboration with Veronika Franz was the internationally award-winning documentary Kern, which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. It was followed by their first joint fiction feature, Goodnight Mommy, which had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and sold to 25 countries. The film was particularly successful in the USA, Mexico, Chile and Ecuador. It has won 27 prizes and screened at over 80 festivals.
"An outstanding debut feature. The two directors have succeeded in creating a chamber play of psycho-terror that is as oppressive as it is enthralling, and that exhibits precision and intelligence and also wholeheartedly embraces its genre. The result is in the best sense harrowing."
Andrey Arnold, Die Presse
"Like every good horror film, Goodnight Mommy touches on our primal fears. Fantastic!"
Katja Nicodemus, Die Zeit
"Goodnight Mommy gets under your skin early and stays there long after the credits. It is an involving nightmare you won't soon forget."
Pierce Conran, Twitch
"It’s satisfying to make a discovery like the creepy Austrian art-film shocker Goodnight Mommy."
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"It has cult potential stamped all over it."
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
"Franz and Fiala play not only a sarcastic (and increasingly bloody) game with the spectator, but also one that develops weight in terms of film theory and media philosophy – without thereby diminishing the raw pleasure of the fear. An astonishing accomplishment."
Stefan Grissemann, Profil
"This shocking auteur horror film out of Austria is best seen with a clear head—and an empty stomach… If Georges Franju, Michael Haneke and Takashi Miike co-directed a horror movie (god help us!), this might well be it."
Ryan Lattanzio, Indiewire
- Awards | Festivals
Nominated as Austrian candidate for the Foreign-language Oscar, 2016
"Fangoria Chainsaw Award: Best Foreign Language Film", 2016
"Best Feature", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Best Director", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Best Camerawork: Martin Gschlacht", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Best Art Design: Hubert Klausner, Hannes Salat", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Best Makeup: Roman Braunhofer, Martha Ruess", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Der Papierene Gustl/Best Austrian Film 2015", Association of Austrian Film Critics, 2015
"Best Camerawork: Martin Gschlacht," Austrian Film Prize, 2015
"Meliès d’Or / Best Feature Length Film Europe", Trieste, 2015
"Audience Award", New Horizons Film Festival, Wroclaw (Breslau), 2015
"Best Feature", Vienna Film Prize, 2015
"Best Foreign Language Film", St Louis Film Critics Association, 2015
"Best Foreign Film/Sierra Award", Las Vegas Film Critics Society, USA, 2015
"Top 5 Foreign Language Films", National Board of Review, USA, 2015
"Grand Diagonale Prize/Best Feature", 2015
"Thomas Pluch Special Jury Prize", Diagonale 2015
"Best Screenplay", Fantaspoa, Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantástico de Porto Alegre, 2015
"Best Camera: Cameraman Martin Gschlacht", Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Films BAFICI, 2015
"Silver Raven/Jury Prize", 33rd Brussels International Fantastic Festival, 2015
"SYFY Jury Prize", 22nd Festival International du Film Fantastique Gérardmer, 2015
"The Région Lorraine Student Prize", 22nd Festival International du Film Fantastique Gérardmer, 2015
"Best Feature Film", Ljubljana Film Festival, 2014
"Fipresci Prize/International Competition", Thessaloniki International Film Fest, 2014
"Méliès d’Argent/Best Feature Length Film", Sitges International Fantastic Film Fest
"Critics' Special Mention", Sitges International Fantastic Film Fest, 2014
"Special Mention", Belgrade Fest
"Audience Award, Feature", Lyon, Hallucinations Collectives
"Special Mention in the European Debut Category", Łódź
World premiere: 71st Venice International Film Festival (Orizzonti)
39th Toronto IFF, 47th International Fantastic FF of Catalonia/Sitges, Fantastic Fest/Austin, Slash Film Festival/Vienna, Das Filmfest/Prague, 12th FF Zagreb, 48th Hofer Filmtage, 55th IFF/Thessaloniki, 25th IFF/Stockholm, AVI Fest/Los Angeles, 11th European FF/Seville, 28th “Cineuropa” Festival de Cinema de Compostela/Santiago de Compostela, 28th Internationales Filmfest/Braunschweig, 25th IFF “LIFFe”/Ljubljana, 18th Black Nights FF/Tallin, Premiers Plans/Angers, Palm Springs IFF, 50th Solothurner Filmtage, Tromsö IF, Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer, IFF Rotterdam, 43rd IFF FEST/Belgrad, 5th Discovery Zone/Luxembourg City FF, 8th "2morrow/Zavtra" IFF/Moscow, XII Muestra Syfy de Cine Fantástico/Madrid, 44th New Directors/New Films/New York, Diagonale/Graz, 20th IFF "Kino pavasaris“/Vilnius, 33rd Brussels International Fantastic FF, 39th IFF Hong Kong, 7th CPH:PIX – FF/Copenhagen, Golden Horse Fantastic FF/Taipei, Night Visions International FF/Helsinki, 17° Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI)/Buenos Aires, 18th FF Skopje, 13th Cyprus Film Days IFF/Nicosia, Limassol, 4th Riviera Maya FF/Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancún, Puerto Morelos, 12th IndieLisboa – International Independent FF/Lisbon, 58th IFF San Francisco, 3rd Stanley FF/Estes Park, Montclair FF, 21st Festival de Cine Fantástico – FANT/Bilbao, 41st IFF Seattle, XI FANTASPOA – Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantástico/Porto Alegre, 14th Transylvania IFF/Cluj-Napoca, Boston Underground FF, Chicago Critics FF, 62nd FF Sydney, 5th Atlántida Film Fest – Online FF/Barcelona, 23rd Art Film Fest/Trencianske Teplice, Trencin, 8th Cinema City IFF/Novi Sad, 50th IFF/Karlovy Vary, 32nd IFF/Jerusalem, 19th International FF PiFan/Puchon, IndieBO – Festival de Cine Independiente/Bogotá, 47th New Zealand IFF, 15th New Horizons IFF/Wroclaw, 64th IFF/Melbourne, 19th Fantasia IFF/Montréal, Hallucination Collectives/Lyon, 17th FF/Sarasota, 3rd Spectre Fest/Los Angeles, MCI Festival/Sao Paulo, 12th Jameson CineFest – IFF/Miskolc, 4th Sehenswert – Festival deutschsprachiger Filme/Budapest, 1st MONTIFFF – Montenegro International Fantastic FF, 5th Ramaskrik Fantastic FF/Oppdal, 7th Celluloid Screams Horror FF/Sheffield, 7th Festival International de Cine – FICCALI/Cali, 15th International Science Fiction Festival/Trieste, 29th IFF/Leeds, 23rd IFF of the Art of Cinematography – Cameraimage/Bydgoszcz, 7th Heimspiel – Das Regensburger Filmfest, 8th Panorama of the European Film/Cairo, 20th Forum of European Cinema – Cinergia/Łódź, Utopia International Festival of Fantastic Film/Tel Aviv, 8th IFF Bengaluru, 12th FF Glasgow, European FF/Hong Kong
© Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion
A film by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala