Zechmeister (1981)

Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - Austria  |  
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Both a partial documentary and an artful posturing in documentary-like footage, Zechmeister is the story of a 1949 conviction brought on Maria Zechmeister for the murder of her husband by poison. After serving 17 years of her sentence, she was released and returned to live in her home, as before. The film stages a mock retrial of the case, using actors for the courtroom scenes, but both Maria and her sister Rosa play themselves. The surreal court case is held in an open field and is seen through the eyes of an alien (extraterrestrial), giving it a different dimension entirely. Antics of the court's lawyers and witnesses include the extremes of either fighting or dancing, and are another piece of evidence to suggest that it is the system of justice that is under examination here, and not the innocence or guilt of the old woman Maria.

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Keywords

husband, murder, poison, release