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An Interview with René Wiesner, Director of Ossarium

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2018

Films directed by René Wiesner on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Ossarium - in a few words, what is it about?


It's about a young woman that follows her obsession to an ossuary in a foreign country.


I think I'm not totally wrong when I say Ossarium was pretty much inspired by the location it was filmed at - so do talk about that location for a bit, and how did you find it even?


Yes, you are right. The location makes the film and I often see the place itself as my protagonist that has its own story tell. Todessehnsucht was made in a very similar way and I came up with the idea during the shoot. I wanted to explore the location, but not as a documentary. Of course both movies have elements of documentary but at the same time they also have a vague narration which I use as a vehicle to this world I want to show. Generally I am a big admirer of filmmakers like Werner Herzog or Ulrich Seidl, whose movies cross the line between fiction and reality so often that it's very unclear what is staged and what not.


In this case it was the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic. It is one of the most famous European dark tourism spots. You can't see it in my movie but there were hundreds of visitors during the short time I was there. The place itself was used as a film location before for movies like Dungeons & Dragons (2000) or the very good short The Ossuary (1970) by surrealist Jan Švankmajer, which is much better than Ossarium by the way. The good thing is that I've seen it only after I had finished Ossarium.


Other sources of inspiration when dreaming up Ossarium?


Since I made Todessehnsucht I always had the urge to turn the idea of a little girl that is surrounded by death into a small cinematic universe. So Ossarium is settled in the same universe and I already have more ideas for future short films about this topic.


Even though filmed in completely different corners of the world, Ossarium shares a fascination for death and the macabre with your last two movies, Todessehnsucht and Addio Uomo - would you like to elaborate on that?


Addio Uomo, Todessehnsucht and Ossarium are my little trilogy of death. The topic is basically the same. A fascination with death and especially how people handle it. I think it's really fascinating that death in the western world is a big taboo while it is something completely normal to talk about or to visit displayed dead bodies in the far east. Even the Czech Republic has a complete different approach to it than Germany. This is something that I am really interested in and the idea of making a film there comes from my childlike curiosity I had when I was there. Here it is really uncommon to get in contact with dead people while many other parts are way more open minded about that.


You also have to talk about your movie's score for a bit?


The score is made by Stephan Ortlepp, who makes music under the name Musica Non Grata. I have showed him the raw cut of the movie and I asked him what he had mind about it and how he would score it. We shared the same thoughts and that's why he could basically do whatever he wanted. He is already on board for my next project.


How would you describe your directorial approach to your subject at hand?


Personally I would say that I am very tame considering the sensitive subject. Of course there

are people who say that the kind of movies I make are exploitive but I don't see that. My short films though containing dead bodies aren't shockumentaries or even sensationalist. I wanted to use unconventional or even gruesome locations to tell positive stories. When I work with non-actors I don't expect something from them that I wouldn't do myself.


Do talk about Ossarium single actress, Ans, and what made her perfect for the job?


Well it was as always easy to work with her. She always helps me when I am in need. This goes so far that Addio Uomo and Todessehnsucht wouldn't even have been possible without her organisational skills and her knowledge of the specific location where we shot. And as an actress she has this mysterious aura that gives a whole new layer to the story. Clearly I had an idea mind what I wanted to tell with the story, but during the shoot she has put much more into it than I expected. Working with non-actors is gambling but this time I won.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


I wish I had more time and some privacy with my actress in the ossuary but I am okay with the result. There were literally dozens of people around us the whole time, but on the other hand if we would be the only people I am not sure if we would be still allowed to shoot something there. The ending that was shot at „home“ in the forest was much more relaxed and free.


The $64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?


So far nowhere but I try to make a little DVD release of my death trilogy soon.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Ossarium yet?


The few people that have seen it so far gave me positive feedback about it. But since I only sent it to very few reviewers and some friends I think it would be to early too talk about a general reception of the movie. Noteworthy is that one critic refused to review it because he thinks that the content is illegal.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


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Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

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Your shop for all things Thai

My next short film is already in post production. I am not entirely sure if the version I have in mind will ever be released since it could bring me into legal trouble. We will see.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Updates about my work can be found here:


Thanks for the interview!


My pleasure.


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD