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VICE Meets Ulrich Seidl

We spoke to the Austrian director about Nazi nostalgia and the marketing genius of Lars von Trier, over plum cake and schnapps.

This post originally appeared on VICE Alps

Austrian director Ulrich Seidl loves tradition just as much as he loves the people of Vienna. If you're only vaguely familiar with his work, you might think this means "not much at all" but you'd be dead wrong. His office looks like a university professor's study and comes with a kitchen that has all the porcelain dishware you'd expect at your grandma's house. He also offers the best plum cake and has the smallest coffee cups this side of Alice in Wonderland.

Which makes it even more fascinating that Seidl's work is actually famous for deconstructing traditions. If you have a soft spot for dark documentaries and the quirky side of human-interest stories (and I'm talking about the side that involves animal love), chances are you already stumbled upon Ulrich Seidl's oeuvre. In his home country of Austria, people were quite sceptical about his art and — as is mostly the case in Austria — only started to accept him once he became famous overseas. Now, with his non-documentaryParadise trilogy still resonating with most of the art-house crowd, Seidl has become sort of a star at home, too.

The director of Dog Days and Animal Love, Seidl is known to be straight-forward, but at the same time poetic – he laughs, because the world is ridiculous at times and, most importantly, he has honest compassion for the people around him. Actually, the director is sort of what Austria wants to be – and what it can be – when it channels Seidl.