Sunday, March 9, 2008

thinking about authenticity....

After thinking for a while about this week's question, I became not so sure about what constitutes "authentic" Austrian.

Redl surely is dedicated to the Austrian empire, regardless of his Ukranian background. If dedication to serving one's country, as well as deep love for it, makes someone authentic Austrian, then Redl surely qualifies.

Franz Ferdinand, who blood-wise might be called authentic, is not so dedicated in serving his country, nor is he so enthusiastic about presenting himself as "ideal Austrian" (actually I don't really know what ideal Austrian is suppose to look like, but I'm putting him in contrast to Franz Joseph whom atleast Redl sees as an "ideal").

You could say Franz Joseph (who only briefly appears in the film, although his impact is felt throughout) is an authentic Austrian, both by blood and by his relation to the country. But again, who is the judge of this authenticity?

I think the matter of authenticity, in the case of this film, matters most to Redl. I think he is torn by the issue of authenticity because he is looking to serve authentic Austrian i.e. Franz Joseph, whom to Redl is an ideal. That's why he struggles with Franz Ferdinand who is not authentic to Redl. I'm not so sure if he wants to be authentic himself-- I don't think he considered himself authentic, but rather saw his ethnic background as an obstacle impossible to overcome in him becoming authentic, and thus his identity crisis. If he wanted to, I think he could have very well called himself authentic, especially in comparison to behaviors of Franz Ferdinand. The fact that he did not consider himself it precisely serves as an example of the high standards that Redl held for authentic Austrian. To him, it really was the ideal.

1 comment:

Winona said...

I think that your comment about a blood connection to Austrianness was interesting. If the question of whether or not a person was American came up, we couldn't really use that same measure, because we come from all over. I think in a way, it would be hard to use it in that case as well.