Ralph Wieser


Ralph Wieser


Euphoric Nights in Vienna

Asmahan - Syrian Druze princess, film diva, music icon and femme fatale of the Arab world in the 1940s. When Vienna was heavily bombed by the Allies during World War II, she sang „Euphoric Nights in Vienna“ and created a myth of Vienna that has affected desires and hopes of travellers and immigrants from the Middle East until today. Just a few weeks after her performance she died under mysterious circumstances. The film traces the promises of the song, visits important sights of Asmahan’s life and meets protagonists searching for identity between East and West, between dreams and reality.

Wishing on a Star

According to a recent study, only 7% of the world population admits to believe in astrology. However, many of us have been caught sneaking at our horoscope. When questioned about such activity, we reply that we do it because it is fun, or because it is a nice way to break long office hours. We all agree that reading about our future is somehow comforting.

Among the people who have no problems confessing their faith in the Zodiac, there are some who believe that travelling to a specific destination on their birthday will change their lives. Behind the travelling choices of such group of birthday-globetrotters, there is a woman: the Neapolitan astrologist Luciana de Leoni d’Asparedo.

Luciana, 63, is one of the exponents of Active Astrology. As she likes to put it: it is a simple, but effective way to change your destiny by taking a trip on your birthday. Luciana's job is partly that of an esoteric strategist and partly that of a travel agent. While triangulating latitude, longitude and ephemerides on maps, she keeps and eye on the best offers on Skyscanner.

Luciana’s office is located in a crumbling castle of Aiello del Friuli. The village, not too far from the Venice Lagoon, is surrounded by corn fields and plenty of houses on sale. The agricultural and the real estate sectors have been struggling lately, but Luciana’s clients have been growing steadily. Women looking for love, confused teenagers, entrepreneurs on the verge of a crisis: these are the customers who ask Luciana to be prescribed a birthday trip.

Far from being an investigation into transcendence, the documentary is rooted in the contemporary historical time. All the character’s desires, in fact, have something in common, they are all “First World” birthday wishes that will appear small when compared to the vastness of the sky.

Underneath the humorous mood, the documentary intends to be a tender and empathic reflection of a very human need: longing for meaning in a cosmos filled with endless chaos.
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