Elfriede Jelinek – Language Unleashed

Elfriede Jelinek – Die Sprache von der Leine lassen

Directed by: Claudia Müller

Renowned Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek has been called a lot of things: brilliant, rebellious, feminist, communist, wunderkind, enfant terrible, traitor to the fatherland. She is also a Nobel laureate. Concentrating on her artistic, playful, even iconoclastic approach to language, Language Unleashed reveals her extraordinary life story, in her own words, via a montage of material pulled from both broadcast media and personal archives. Exploring the incendiary collisions between literary aesthetics and politics, the documentary also examines how Jelinek’s work unflinchingly confronts and uncovers the social, historical, and political contradictions of contemporary Austria. Claudia Müller’s is an intelligent, inventive documentary worthy of its intelligent, inventive subject.

Best Documentary Austrian Film Awards 2023

“The first major film portrait of Austrian playwright and author Elfriede Jelinek sets new cinematic standards, painting a phantom portrait of a reclusive, intellectual giant, and fearless social observer.”


In German with English subtitles
97 min
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[Horák] matches each of the film’s periods to a different style: the 1960s to the Czech New Wave, the 1970s to normalization films, and the 1980s to documentary-like grainy footage. The stylisation enables a fine adjustment of dramatic effects”

(Martin Kudláč, Cineuropa).


  • Bulgarian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards 2018
  • Golden Rose Festival of Bulgarian film: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Critics Gild Award and Audience Award
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