Austria 2015 - 2018 / HD - DCP / black and white / 16:9 / 3.1 mono / running time: 136 min. (25f/s)

cast: Giuliana Pachner, Awad Elkish, Hermann Krejcar, Sandu Petre Boitan, Omar Taha  a.o.
scenario, realisation, cinematography, editing, sound design: Peter Schreiner

sound recording: Johannes Schmelzer-Ziringer 

assistant producer, consulting editor: Maria Schreiner

assistant camera, lighting: Zakaria Mohamed Ali, Motahar Azizi

assistant realisation: Sandra Spindler

assistant CamDolly Cinema System: Zabiullah Ibrahimi, Isabella Schreiner

production: Peter Schreiner Filmproduktion - echt.zeit.film

supported by The Arts Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria - Innovative Film Austria,

Vienna City Administration, cultural department 


world distribution:  echtzeitfilm




48th  International Film Festival Rotterdam  /  The Netherlands

Austrian Premiere:
Diagonale - Festival of Austrian Film 2019  /  Graz, Austria

Diagonale - Award 2019  Best Artistic Film - Editing / feature fiction film


Official Selection:

9 th Philosophical Film Festival  2019  /  Skopje, Macedonia


Official Selection:
3rd Portoviejo International Film Festival 2019 / Portoviejo, Ecuador


Official Selection:
15th International Documentary Drama Film Festival  2019  /  Saratov, Russian Federation

Viennese Premiere:  Top-Kino, starting 23. 06. 2019

This film is dedicated to our dear friends and decades-long confidants  Giuliana Pachner (1957 - 2019)  and  Awad Elkish (1945 -2018)

GIULIANA PACHNER  ( 1957 - 2019 )
GIULIANA PACHNER ( 1957 - 2019 )
Awad Elkish in GARDEN Film by Peter Schreiner
AWAD ELKISH ( 1945 - 2018 )
GARDEN   film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm

A film within a film.

Julia finds out she is suffering from a life threatening disease.

Awad, the film director, was kidnapped by the militia, kept imprisoned and tortured.

Herman, the stage designer, is plagued by nightmares.

Sandu, the gardener, spent his childhood living in institutional homes.

Omar fled the inferno of the Syrian war with his wife and children.
A garden becomes a stage for its protagonists and a childhood paradise – a nightmare, a prison, and a scene of war.

Film im Film.

Julia hat erfahren, dass sie an einer lebensbedrohenden Krankheit leidet.
Briefe an alte Freunde. Eine Einladung. Ein Filmprojekt.

Awad, der Regisseur, ist von Milizen entführt, gefangen gehalten und gefoltert worden.

Hermann, der Bühnenbildner, wird von Albträumen gequält.

Sandu, der Gärtner, hat seine Kindheit in Heimen verbracht.

Omar kommt direkt aus dem syrischen Kriegsinferno.
Ein Garten wird für die ProtagonistInnen Bühne und Kindheits-Paradies, Albtraum, Gefängnis und Kriegsschauplatz.

„Eine Montage, die sich selbst offenlegt,

die uns Raum lässt, Erinnerungen durch eigene Erfahrungen zu ergänzen, die gefühlvoll Sehnsucht und Angst umreißt, ohne dabei Antworten geben zu wollen. Oder in den Worten des Films selbst: ,Überall wartet etwas Lebendiges.’“


(Jury-Begründung Diagonale - Preis 2019  für beste künstlerische Montage / Spielfilm)

GARDEN  film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Giuliana Pachner

an intermediate world of peace and quiet

It seems to be an intermediate world of peace and quiet, the garden and country house where four people look back on testing lives.
And forward, to the time they have left. On the one hand, there is regret – on the other, satisfaction.
In a way, they are looking forward to the future – but at the same time, a longing for death regularly arises.
And who is actually behind the camera? Are we watching actors or real people? Is there really any difference?
Garten is full of contradictions – it is not until the credits roll that we realise who these people from very different backgrounds are.

In the meantime, Austrian director Peter Schreiner lulls the audience with the sound of crickets and bells, and above all with the black-and-white compositions which, thanks to the high contrast, come across with intoxicating beauty.
Hypnotically calm, the camera glides past musings, quarrels and dreams.
A deep dive into lonely, torn lives, in which time seems to have frozen.

(International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019)

GARDEN film by Petrer Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm

in a purgatorial place


Peter Schreiners cinema is one too little known in English-speaking film world, despite its existence as capital-A art-cinema, existing in the same world of demanding — but highly rewarding — formalism as director’s like Béla Tarr, who works on a more expansive scale, and Pedro Costa, whose intimate productions bare a very superficial similarity.
Yet Schreiner is not nearly as hip in the culture; perhaps because his films are rooted in documentary (though, so too are Costa’s), perhaps because he is from Austria (where there Can Be Only One: Michael Haneke), and perhaps because of the degree to which Schreiner boldly takes his very real subjects and risks abstracting them as people and their turmoil as humans to a level beyond the surface and the obvious, in attempt to reach something more elevated, more profound.
I realize this sounds pretentious, and indeed a film like Garden, Schreiner’s latest, is vulnerable and fragile to such concerns: while its three main characters are based on real people of the same name and background, Schreiner fictionalizes their stories, collaborating with them to create a floating world where inner life and external drama blend into utterances and pronouncements of longing and lamentation.

On its most basic level, it tells of a love triangle between Awad, a Lybian migrant in Vienna, and Hermann, a Viennese artist, with Julia, the woman who both claim is the love of their lives. That lost romance is an invention, but all three are real people with backgrounds that feed into the world Schreiner creates — yet that world bares little resemblance to reality: the film takes place in an unidentified garden during the day and night (mostly eerie, moonlit night) and indeterminate interior rooms of a home, and both places have that oneiric vagueness of a dream, nightmare, a state of limbo or a conjuring. Indeed, the garden of the title seems metaphorical, a place of memory, a place of fantasy, a place of purgatory between living and death.

In its feeling of inescapablility, it is perhaps even a hell, but all in all, this netherspace is one in which Awad and Hermann pine for Julia, recount their lost opportunity of love, and Julia gradually asserts her own story of struggle and self-doubt.

If all this sounds abstruse, especially for a (kind of a) documentary, indeed it is.
Schreiner very beautifully shoots in the highest of contrast black and whites, tracking his camera back and forth before his subjects as they utter pronouncements of misery, of doubt, of questioning, and of longing, and we are unmoored in both space and time.
These may be real people, but their expressions, and Schreiner’s evocation of them, are hardly of fact and figures.
Rather, Garden is after a revelation of the soul. This is where the film’s risk comes from, its danger and it accomplishment. I myself don’t recognize my soul within it, or necessarily understand a great deal of what the three say, but I most definitely see and am often awed by recognizing the soul in these people. “You have to wrest a secret from life,” says Awad, who part way through Garden expresses his wish to make a film, perhaps one about his relationship to Julia and Hermann — perhaps make the film we are watching. (We see a camera lens face us from time to time, and indeed, is what we’re seeing Schreiner’s film, or one imagined by the people in it?)

The pacing is a morass, tarlike. We are stuck in this so-called garden, this not-now, not-reality with three people who struggle to articulate and define their ardor and their despair. Hermann suggests all three are acting parts, and indeed they are, real people, real backgrounds, soul-riffing in some way or another. Awad despairs as Hermann leaves his film midway through shooting — or is it Hermann the man himself who leaves Schreiner’s project, for he indeed disappears from Garden for a while? “Who am I when I don’t play?” asks Julia.
The planes of existence are blurred and it matters not, only the doubt, the wondering and the residue that remains. This may not be what we understand conventionally as “real” in the cinema, but it feels like a direct transmission from these three and from Schreiner to us, something laid exposed and sore before the audience. When describing his film project, Awad says that “unseen images should become visible.” He’s talking of the metaphysics of cinema, yes, but also very practically too: we see him, Julia and Hermann in the raw, emerging from darkness in a purgatorial place where they question their lives, doubt their motives, lament and long for love and deliverance.
They are so vivid and exposed it feels almost painful for these three to be on camera, to try to speak, to give voice to their spirit.
And it is by admitting to this difficulty, which indeed can also be difficult to watch, and by showing it ardently, that Garden speaks real truths.

(Daniel Kasman, MUBI - Notebook Festival)

GARDEN  film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Awad Elkish

a sensorial journey through an eerie space

The new feature by Austria’s Peter Schreiner takes viewers on a sensorial journey through an eerie space, in which the characters express their innermost thoughts.


Emotionally dense and narratively unconventional, Peter Schreiner’s GARDEN, which celebrated its Austrian premiere at the Diagonale 2019, lets its handful of vulnerable characters encounter each other in the eerie titular location and a few interior rooms, spaces shown in high-contrast, black-and-white images and with unsettlingly broad camera movements, which at no time give the viewer the impression of belonging to the realm of the real.


From the mere shadow of a premise that the film provides, it can be understood that Awad, a filmmaker, and Hermann, a production designer, receive a letter from Julia, whom they both loved in their youth. In it, she admits she is suffering from a severe illness that remains unnamed. As the film progresses (the movie we are seeing appears to be, following Garden’s logic, the one that Awad talks about wanting to make), we find the trio reunited, seemingly trapped in an mysterious place that belongs neither to the realm of the real nor to the present, but instead appears to be closely connected to a particular frame of mind. The thoughts uttered by the three people are almost always somehow related to death or prompted by its proximity. In a sort of intermediate world, Awad, Hermann and Julia talk about their regrets and fears, loss and grieving, childhood memories and life-threatening situations that they have found themselves in. 

At times, the characters, who talk about themselves in the third person, make us doubt whether what they are recounting is biographically true, fictional or, as the closing text will to some extent confirm, a blend of both. Awad, in actual fact a Libyan migrant in Vienna, was indeed kidnapped by the militia, kept imprisoned and tortured; Hermann is a Viennese artist whose wife suddenly died in an accident; and Julia, whose actual name is Giuliana, does indeed have a serious health condition. As the camera often brings us very close to them, the three are almost intimidatingly exposed. The encounter between them that the film facilitates (even though there is very little that is facile about it) is an utterly intimate one. 

Another striking aspect of the manner in which Awad, Hermann and Giuliana deliver their lines is the fact that a dialogue, in the classical sense of the word, rarely emerges. Instead, we witness an accumulation of ideas, and the movie provides us with what sounds more like brief fragments of its (non-)characters’ streams of consciousness. 

Certainly unsettling and disorientating, Garden’s editing and its smooth camera movements let night flow into day, and the spaces shown in the film intertwine seamlessly, reminding us that the titular place is one in which the physical rules of day-to-day reality do not apply, and that cinema itself is a medium that has the freedom to defy and manipulate them, particularly in its attempt to make emotions and moods visible.


(Ioana Florescu, CINEUROPA)

GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Giuliana Pachner

der Herzschlag eines Schlafenden

Peter Schreiners neue Arbeit ist ein Film im Film, gedreht in brillantem Schwarz-Weiß. Die Handlung spielt in einem Garten: Eine ältere Frau, Julia, hat erfahren, dass sie an einer lebensbedrohenden Krankheit leidet. Sie hat Freunde zu Gast: etwa Awad, einen Regisseur, der einst von Milizen entführt, gefangen gehalten und gefoltert wurde. Er möchte einen Film drehen über die Erzählungen, die er von den anderen hört, und über seine eigenen Erinnerungen, die besonders in dieser Nacht für ihn aufflammen und ihn verschlingen wie Feuer. Von Hermann, einem Bühnenbildner, den jede Nacht Albträume heimsuchen. Von Sandu, dem Gärtner, der seine Kindheit in Heimen verbrachte. Und von Omar, der sich gestern noch mitten im syrischen Kriegsgeschehen wiederfand.

Drei Jahre hat Peter Schreiner an Garten gearbeitet und dabei kraftvoll-pulsierende Schwarz-Weiß- Bilder hervorgebracht, die poetischer und klarer sprechen, als die Protagonist/innen es könnten. Schatten und Schattierungen geben jeder Einstellung eine vielschichtige Textur, offenbaren Details und fragmentarische Verzweigungen zu anderen Stellen im Film. Der Ton, jedes Geräusch hallt nicht nur wider, sondern entfaltet sich mit der visuellen Ebene zu einer sinnlichen, oft ambivalenten, durchaus auf das Unterbewusste abzielenden Erfahrung. Es mag tatsächlich ein Herzschlag sein, der den Rhythmus für diesen assoziativen und philosophischen Film vorgibt. Der Herzschlag eines schlafenden Menschen, der lebhaft träumt.

Als der Film von Awad immer deutlicher Raum bekommt, kehrt Schreiner die inneren Perspektiven seiner Figuren allmählich nach außen. Ein nächtlicher Bewusstseinsstrom, in dem alles zusammenfließt. Beinah hat man Angst, sich beim Aufwachen nicht mehr an alles erinnern zu können.

(AZ, Diagonale 2019)

GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Awad Elkish

wie im Traum
Ich erinnere mich nicht daran, jemals einen Film gesehen zu haben, der so sehr Film ist und gleichzeitig so sehr nicht (mehr) Film ist, sondern etwas, das sich mir beim Erleben direkt, unmittelbar einprägt, wie im Traum.

GARTEN ist von einer derart komplexen filmischen Struktur, die auf allen filmischen Ebenen wirkt , und zwar derart "schnell", dass ich mich dem direkten Erleben nicht entziehen, sondern mich ihm "bedingungslos" hingeben konnte, musste, durfte.

GARTEN ist das traumhafteste je im Kino Erlebte.

Peter Schreiner ist es gelungen, eine filmische Sprache zu finden, die direkt das Unbewusste anspricht, es animiert, "zur Sprache bringt".

Das tut die sanfte Bewegung, das Gleiten der Kamera. das tut die "Nacht", das tut das künstliche Licht, das tut die gesprochene Sprache, die nie ganz ausspricht, was ohnehin nicht auszusprechen ist. Das tut der Ton, der so "nicht in der Welt" ist, der so nur im Traum erscheint,

und das tun die Akteure! Ich neige zu Superlativen, wenn ich an sie denke.

Ich liebe sie alle, in ihrer "Unvollständigkeit", in ihrer oftmals Unbeholfenheit, in ihrem Suchen nach den Worten, nach den Gesten, den Haltungen, für ihre Gefühle, für das oft eben Unaussprechliche, in ihrem Ringen um etwas Fassbares, Haltbares, um das Gemeinsame oder auch nur um die Illusion dessen.


(Michael Pilz, 2018)


GARDEN  film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Hermann Krejcar Giuliana Pachner
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Omar Taha
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Awad Elkish
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Giuliana Pachner
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Giuliana Pachner
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Hermann Krejcar
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Giuliana Pachner Awad Elkish
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Hermann Krejcar
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm drawing by Hermann Krejcar
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Giuliana Pachner
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Awad Elkish
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Giuliana Pachner
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Awad Elkish
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm
GARDEN  film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Sandu Petre Boitan
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Hermann Krejcar
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Awad Elkish
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN echtzeitfilm Sandu Petre Boitan



Giuliana Pachner

Awad Elkish

Hermann Krejcar

Sandu Petre Boitan

Omar Taha





Clementine Gasser

Michael Pilz

Judith und Luise Zdesar

Annemarie Zottl

Michael Mills

Maja Okeke



as well as

Sidi and Dido



special thanks to:


Anna Gasser

Khalida Aljaburi

Maria and Cosmas Okeke

Joseph Taha

Mohamed Taha

Isabella Schreiner

Michael Pilz
Olaf Moeller

Marko Doringer


and to the anonym guitar player

at the Viennese 'Nordbahnhof'- area





Omar Taha

Mohamed Taha

Moawia Elkish

Peter Schreiner


thanks to:
Paul Schreiner
Marie Lechner










Peter Schreiner


thanks to:

Anna Gasser

Hermann Krejcar



assistance camera / lighting / technics:


Zakaria Mohamed Ali

Motahar Azizi



assistance CamDolly Cinema System:


Zabiullah Ibrahimi

Isabella Schreiner








assistance realisation / photos:


Sandra Spindler



team-support and coaching:


Maria Schreiner



additional sound-recording 2009 / 2015 / 2016:


Peter Schreiner



sound recording and controlling:


Johannes Schmelzer-Ziringer



sound-design / sound-editing / sound-mixing


Peter Schreiner



final inspection sound-mix / DCP - sound:


Johannes Schmelzer-Ziringer



grading / digital effects:


Peter Schreiner



Digital Cinema Package:




thanks to

Carl Hetherington




scenario / realisation / cinematography / editing:


Peter Schreiner



production assistance / editing consulting:


Maria Schreiner



production supervision:


Peter Schreiner



production / distribution:


echtzeitfilm - Peter Schreiner Filmproduktion


© 2015 / 2018



supported by:


The Arts Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria,

Department II / 3 - Film




Vienna City Administration,

cultural department

MA 7




The drawings and outlines are intellectual property of Hermann Krejcar



The painting used in the film is a copy from 'The Concert' by Tizian (Tiziano Vecellio) made by Anna Lenassi



The poem 'Syria' in arabian language is intellectual property of Omar Taha




Texts from the following plays were quoted:


William Shakespeare, As You Like It, translation by August Wilhelm Schlegel,

in: Shakespeare's dramatische Werke. Bd. 4, Johann Friedrich Unger, Berlin 1799

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, translation by August Wilhelm Schlegel,

in: Shakespeare's dramatische Werke Bd. 3, Johann Friedrich Unger, Berlin 1798


William Shakespeare, Macbeth, translation by Dorothea Tieck, http://www.william-shakespeare.de


and from memory cited by Hermann Krejcar:

excerpt from Friedrich Schiller, Der Künstler (1788)




Peter Schreiner wants to give thanks to all the contributors

for their great commitment and support, which made the production of the film possible.

shooting format:


XDCAM-EX 1920x1080 25p, bw

Audio: mono



available prints:



Flat 1998x1080 / 25p / Audio: Digital 3.1 (mono)

english / german  subtitled



2. QUICKTIME-FILE Apple PRORES 422 HQ 1920x1080

Audio: 3.1 (mono) or 2-channels (mono)

english / german  subtitled or without subtitles




Audio: 2-channels (mono)

english / german  subtitled or without subtitles



Audio: 2-channels (mono)

english  subtitled

GARDEN at FilmFreeway


Please contact office@echtzeitfilm.at


(photography: Sandra Spindler)



graphic: Leo Schreiner
photography: Sandra Spindler

GARDEN  film by Peter Schreiner
GARDEN film by Peter Schreiner

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and no commercial aim is pursued.