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At Swim Two Birds

Original Title: In Schwimmen-Zwei-Vögel


The student Bran who lives at his uncle’s maintaining a constant quarrel with the same, writes on a novel with different beginnings. For this purpose he invents the devil Pooka MacPhellimey, the villainous John Furriskey and the legendary Old-Irish hero Finn Mac Cool. But John Furriskey himself is the creation of another character invented by Bran called Dermot Trellis. The same Trellis, himself working on a novel, forces all the characters created by him to live in the Red Swan Hotel and do what he likes them to do.

Bran develops an additional subplot around the devil Pooka MacPhellimey, who is visited by a Good Fairy learning from her that soon a child shall be born to Dermot Trellis at the Red Swan Hotel, a child the fairy wants to bless with her positive powers. Hearing that, Pooka as well sets off for the Red Swan Hotel to plant the seed of evil into newly-born Orlick’s heart. On their ramblings through the forests Pooka and the Good Fairy meet the drovers Shorty Andrews and Slug Willard and working class poet Jem Casey. The group of four is later joined by mad King Sweeney. After a two-day journey the company arrives at the Red Swan Hotel. To kill the time waiting for the child to be born, the group engages in a game of poker, the outcome of which gives the narrative course an unexpected turn …

Technical Information

1997; Austria; Drama; 90 minutes; HDCAM-SR; Original Language: English; Subtitles: German


Kurt Palm


Flann O’Brien (book), Kurt Palm


Wolfgang Lehner


Karina Ressler


Chrono Popp


Fischer Film


Markus Fischer


Ursula Hübner


Wilbirg Reiter-Heinisch, Renato Uz


Karin Schön, Ulli Koppe


Bruno Pisek


Axl Newrkla


Thomas Dirnhofer

Paul Shanahan/Shorty Andrews

Andreas Sobik

Antony Lamont/Slug Willard

Renato Uz

Dermot Trellis

Andreas Karner

Pooka MacPhellimey

Johannes Friesinger

John Furriskey

Karl Ferdinand Kratzl


Stefan Wieland

Jem Casey

Ernst Wolzenburg

Finn Mac Cool

Harry Rowohlt


Werner Wultsch


In 1981 Palm wrote his dissertation on Brecht and Austira at the University of Salzburg. Since 1982, Kurt Palm works as a director, writer and educational worker. In 1989 he founded the legendary theater group Sparverein “Die Unzertrennlichen” in Vienna. From 1994 to 1996 he directed 24 episodes of the show hosted by Hermes Phettberg. Since November 19th 1998 Palm is a member of the Society of Jem Casey, Dublin. He lives in Vienna and Litzlberg am Attersee.

Selective Filmography

Feature Film

2005 The Measuring of the Calves

2003 The Cut Through the Throat

1997 At Swim-Two-Birds


Feature Documentary

2007 Hermes Phettberg, Wretch

coming soon…

The Irish Times

The subversive humour of Flann O’Brien’s daring and complicated comedy not only transfers brilliantly from the page to the screen in Kurt Palm’s hilarious début movie, it also works well in German.

Der Standard

Singularly unbrilliant.

Die Presse

The highest degree of absurdity in the cinema.

Salzburger Nachrichten

Certificate: weird.


Bizarre characters, fanciful pitfalls and a double-bottomed dramatization.

The Irish Times

An imaginative and hilarious screen version of Flann O’Brien’s subversive comic masterpiece.

Media Biz

A bright spot on the silver screen.

Media Biz No. 39


A terrific farce.

TV Media

A bizarre tale of magic abounding in powerful poetical imagery.

Oberösterreichische Nachrichten

A weed-like sprouting of the flowers of fantasy.


A cult movie.

Neues Volksblatt

Original, outstandingly produced, delightful casting.

Wiener Zeitung

[… ] a blazing hell-fire (…) a breathtaking ride on the ghost train.

After finishing high school (1979) and job training, Markus Fis­cher began working as a cinematographer. In 1988 he passed the state-certified producer exam and founded Fischer Markus Film­produktion, based in Linz, Upper Austria. 

In 1998, Markus Fischer decided to take a further step towards more independence and founded the Vienna-based Fischer Film GmbH. 

With this company, it is Fischer’s goal to develop and produce Aus­trian films by well known filmmakers, as well as by young and tal­ented writers, directors and artists and also European Co-Produc­tions. Markus Fischer is a member of the “aafp – Association of Austrian Film Producers,” the Association of the Music and Film Industry Austria, and an EAVE graduate (Les Entrepre­neurs de l’Audiovisuel Europeen).

Selective Filmography

Feature Film

2014 Kafka, Ganja, Maniacs

2007 Midsummer Madness

2005 Fremde Haut

2004 Fräulein Phyllis


Feature Documentary

2012 Slatin Pascha

2011 Gas Monopoly