First time director Andreas Schmied tells the story of a steel factory and its workers as they struggle to keep their jobs in this blue-collar Austrian town. Schmied creates a fairy tale world where this community must band together to take back their jobs.
After watching many films with dark and serious themes this past weekend, it was so refreshing to see this movie as it deals with serious subject matter with comedy and brevity. TAKING IT BACK pits the local workers against their ruthless bosses who are only seeking to line their own pockets. Films about corporate greed tend to be on the more serious thriller or dramatic side, but this film aims to show the plight of the working class through the eyes of characters who try to look at the lighter side of life no matter what's going on around them.
Schmied grew up not far from where the movie was filmed and knows first hand about these communities; he even worked in a steel factory for a time. His desire was to make a movie about the people that he knew from his life. He told us that he was inspired by the Italian neorealist Vittorio De Sica, maybe best known for BICYCLE THEVES - a really great movie to check out, by the way. "These are simple stories about the plight of workers, about the plight of fisherman, about small villages."
But when Schmied began writing, "It started very serious and I became very bored with it.“ Adding the comedy made the story come to life, "it’s also like a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down." He submitted his script and received funding from Austrian Film Institute, Vienna Film Fund, and others. "This was a total surprise because its my first movie," he told us laughing, "what the hell am I doing here?" But as state funded film, with large crew and good budget, "You could trust that things could get done," he said "because this was a professional production."
After becoming a hit in Austria, Schmied submitted TAKING IT BACK to the Austin Film Festival just under the deadline. He had always wanted to come to Austin largely because of its filmmakers he saw in the 90's. “There were people like Richard Linklater with SLACKER and DAZED AND CONFUSED…and I know that I saw it in the cinemas and I was totally blown away. And I thought if this is a movie, I can make one and these were the movies that empowered me.”
TAKING IT BACK mixes a romantic comedy with the more serious topic of the workers who are forced out of their jobs and must fight to save not just the factory but their community as well. The film was shot on 35mm over 30 days in Austria and features some very funny performances from its cast. Don't miss the final screening of TAKING IT BACK. It plays tonight at the Rollins Theatre at 7:00pm.