A derelict slaughterhouse in Vienna hosts cabaret shows by the Vienna Festival in 1975. As the shows come to an end in 1976, the audience are encouraged to stay and squat the buildings to prevent their destruction. ARENA SQUATTED observes the squatting, the organisation of collective work, negotiations with the city, and finally the demolition of the majority of the buildings (one remained to become the Arena Cultural Centre, still in operation today). Watched now, the film shows how a generation became politicised through their involvement in the Arena movement.
Dir. Ruth Beckermann, Franz Grafl, Josef Aichholzer - 77min - 1977 - Austria
"The social and political innovations of the Arena Movement, over which no political party or left-wing group achieved significant influence, are revealed in the tight, analytical arrangement of the material, with the beautifully shabby aesthetics of the amateur video vividly conveying the distinct flair characteristic of the Arena" - Gustav Ernst, Arena