Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
What inspires people to take the initiative and organize communal living themselves? What are the ideals behind it, how do they work out the financing, and how does communal life function? On the basis of six self-managed residential structures in Austria from across forty years, the documentary Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On goes in search of answers. The filmmakers Lotte Schreiber and Michael Rieper tell these six stories by placing themselves very close to the protagonists.
The pioneers who began the project Kooperatives Wohnen in Graz-Raaba (1975) tell of the genesis from the experimental ideals of the 1960s, of internal and external conflicts, and of growing old in the community. The inhabitants of the Gärnterhof Eco-community tell of living on the periphery between idyll and isolation. The most recent projects, the Wohnprojekt Wien am Nordbahnhof and willy*fred in Linz, show, for their part, entirely different models and social environments: on one end of the spectrum is the sociocracy with middle-class intellectual responsibility, at the other is the explicitly political ambition of permanently removing houses from the market as part of the tenement syndicate that evolved in Germany.
At the same time, the architecture is constantly present in the background. Its specific role as well as the space for political resonance are both reflected on in each case via the inhabitants´ everyday lives. The balance between lived solidarity and social control and the question of how transparent life should be for the neighbors, run as leitmotivs through the film, as does the charged relationship between urban and rural life. Editing and dramatic staging make tensions and in-between spaces visible and tangible, thereby turning Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On into a film experience that goes far beyond a purely episodic documentary.
Based on five milestones of self-organized and self-managed housing projects in Austria, this documentary explores a variety of topics related to cooperative planning processes from 1968 to the present. Through interviews with participants and residents of these individual housing projects, such as the activists of the project willy*fred in Linz, or the ecological settlement Gärtnerhof in Lower Austria, the film not only examines their social and economic demands, and sociopolitical significance, but also provides insight into the small and large daily conflicts, discussions and benefits that life in a collective involves.
(Crossing Europe Film Festival, Catalogue 2019)