Review: Zingerle (2019), by Eric Marcus Weglehner

Guido Zingerle, nicknamed “The Monster of Tyrol” was a serial sex offender, rapist and killer that operated on the both sides of Austrian-Italian border in the late 40’s until his arrest in August 1950. For his crimes he was sentenced to life in prison. Guido Zingerle died in 1962, becoming an obscure boogeyman from Tyrolean nursery rhymes. The mid-length Zingerle, written and directed by the young Austrian filmmaker Eric Marcus Weglehner is the first film based on the life and capture of the infamous criminal. Zingerle world-premiered at the Manchester International Film Festival in March, from where it continued its festival circuit.

The plot covers the period of time between Zingerle’s capturing and sentencing, with a number of flashbacks to his troubled childhood and his crimes later in life. The central relationship in the film is the one between Zingerle (played by Roland Silbernagl) and the police secretary Ida Hofer (Julia Rosa Peer) who was a rape victim herself and is the only one empathetic enough to get a wanted confession out of him, while the interrogators seem unable to make Zingerle to focus on the crimes he committed and not to self-pity.

Eric Marcus Weglehner directs the film with a meticulous attention to details, both of the period and the general tone. His vision of Zingerle is unsympathetic, but understanding in a way, since Zingerle was obviously a product of his time and his surroundings. The whole film was shot in dark and murky colours by Franco Marco Avi and Dominik Mayer. For the exterior scenes, the most impressive are the steady-cam shots, while the interior ones show Weglehner’s sense for the using of chiaroscuro contrasts with a beautiful, soft lighting. The director’s work with actors is also commendable. Roland Silbernagl has a difficult task to make Guido Zingerle threatening, but not unnaturally monstrous, which is a fine line to balance and his misfires are put to a minimum. On the other hand, Julia Rosa Peer must serve as our point of view and the ethic backbone of the film, which she does in a stellar fashion: her Ida is warm, beautiful and humane.

Zingerle is one of those shorts and mid-lengths that might be judged just as basis for some kind of feature-length in future, since it could be easily converted to one. But it is astonishing how well it works in its own format nevertheless.

Director/ Scriptwriter: Eric Marcus Weglehner
Director of Photography: Franco Marco Avi
Camera: Dominik Mayer
Production Design: Christian Tabakoff
Costumes: Christian Alfred Kahrer
Make-up Artist: Werner Höfling, Kristin Barthold
Sound: Martin Rohrmoser
Editor: Benedikt Rubey
Music: Christoph Stock
Sound Design: Martin Rohrmoser
Sound Mixing: Martin Löcker
VFX: Maurice Miller
Grading: Willi Willinger
CO-Producer: Lukas V. Rinner / Nabis Filmgroup
Executive Producer: Roland Silbernagl
Production Management: Matthias Mayr
Producer: Gudrun Weglehner-Auböck