Zurich Film Festival: Sachertorte
Head-in-the-clouds Karl meets the girl of his dreams at a street food stand in Berlin‘s Prenzlauer Berg. The problem is Nini lives in Vienna and Karl doesn’t know how to get in touch with her. His only point of reference is that every year, on her birthday, at 3pm she goes to Café Sacher to eat a slice of their famous chocolate cake. Not knowing the date or even the month, Karl impulsively decides to move to the Austrian capital and wait for her at the coffeehouse each afternoon.
Director Tine Rogoll‘s first feature anticipates the comparisons to Before Sunrise – in fact, a common love of Richard Linklater‘s classic is one of the things Karl and Nini bond over during their meet-cute – but while honouring the predecessors of its genre, Sachertorte is not just another romantic comedy merely following in their footsteps.
In each of its components, the German-Austrian co-production manages to blend tradition and progression: the cast is comprised of acting elite and fresh-faced newcomers alike; the soundtrack effortlessly varies between hip Austrian pop-rock and opera. National institutions (like Café Sacher) and independently owned bakeries are not only given the space to co-exist peacefully, but the value of their divergence is recognised. This patchwork continues in the script, respecting the expectations of the audience in this format, while offering a more evolved understanding of relationships than is usually the case in feel-good films.
Through the eyes of the charismatic lead (played by Swiss actor Max Hubacher), cultural differences between Austria and Germany are playfully examined and much of the humour in the script comes from real-life misconceptions between the neighbouring countries. His co-star, Maeve Metelka (who plays Karl’s first friend in the new city, Miriam) possesses the delightful charm of romcom queens like Drew Barrymore or Julia Roberts, and one is genuinely excited to see where her career will take her.
Especially well suited to those craving some wholesome entertainment before the holiday season, Sachertorte is an endearing, modern fairytale, as sweet and zesty as the cake itself.
Sachertorte is released on Amazon Prime Video on 18th November 2022.
Zurich Film Festival is on from 22nd September until 2nd October 2022. For further information visit here.
Watch the trailer for Sachertorte here: