111 minutes, Austria
German & French spoken
“Costume drama about a young black boy who is kidnapped from his home country to serve as a mascot for Austria’s aristocrats”
In the early 18th century, a young boy from the West-African coast is taken from his home country by a wealthy Austrian countess (Alba Rohrwacher) not as a slave but as her surrogate child Angelo. He is treated like a pet more than a child, pampered by the countess and used for entertainment. They dress him up. He plays the flute, sings and acts. Angelo has a great talent as an actor. He steals the hearts of his audience, but never as an equal, always as an exotic outsider. After spending his childhood with the countess, he is just as easily passed over to the next royal house, as the aristocrats are eager to spend time with this exciting creature.
In three chapters, we follow Angelo’s life (played by five different actors) from child to an extravagant young man (Makita Samba) and court performer all the way to when his old age precedes his humiliating end.
As any Austrian kid, Markus Schleinzer grew up on the success stories of Angelo Soliman. A man who stood as an example of a ‘well-done immigration job’. A man who should be ‘grateful to have had this opportunity at the court of Austria’. With Angelo, Schleinzer unravels the truth about the life of Angelo Soliman who was kidnapped from his home and family to serve as an Austrian mascotte.