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Ewald is a power plant controller in Romania. He uses his wealth and the ignorance of the rural population to open a free “judo school“ for little boys named Sparta.


SPARTA has a scandal that led to the cancellation of a planned premiere at the Toronto Film Festival: Der Spiegel reported physical assaults towards the child actors, several workers accused Seidl, and he took legal action.

SPARTA is the counterpart to Ulrich Seidl‘s RIMINI – at first the films were meant to be one feature film. While RIMINI follows the washed up singer Richie Bravo as he struggles to survive in the sad idyll of an Italian vacation spot, SPARTA portrays his brother Ewald, a power plant controller in Romania. Ewald ends the relationship with his Romanian girlfriend, because he can‘t continue hiding his pedophilic tendencies from her any longer. In accordance with Seidl‘s ongoing fascination with Austria‘s private colonizations, Ewald uses his wealth and the ignorance of the rural population to open a free “judo school“ for a small boys called “Sparta“ in a village. In contrast to the abusive parenting at home, Ewald focuses on play and fun. He uses the children‘s trust to photograph them at every opportunity, to stroke them or shower with them; but along with the exploitation he also shows the boys compassion and care. SPARTA is not as glamorous as RIMINI, but far more complex. While we follow Richie Bravo with disgust and amusement doing his off-season business, SPARTA shows compassion for everyone involved, embedded in a constant state of discomfort. Even without the contentious shoot, this discomfort is intensified by the mechanisms of a film in which objectifying images were made of clueless child actors.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Österreich 2022, 101 min
Genre: Drama, Tragicomedy
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Author: Ulrich Seidl, Veronika Franz
DOP: Wolfgang Thaler, Serafin Spitzer
Montage: Mona Willi, Andrea Wagner
Distributor: Neue Visionen Filmverleih
Cast: Georg Friedrich, Florentina Elena Pop, Hans-Michael Rehberg, Marius Ignat, Octavian-Nicolae Cocis
Release: 18.05.2023



  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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