by Julian Roman Pölsler
The cawing of the crows breaks through the biting cold whilst, inside a
bare hunting cabin, a woman (Martina Gedeck) forces her words into
tight narrow lines on her last sheet of paper. Her fingernails are filthy
from all the work. The expression on her face mirrors her fate. This
woman is not writing her story out of pleasure, this woman is writing to
save herself from losing her mind.
The rays of sunlight on a beautiful day in May evoke her memories. With her friends Hugo and Luise and their dog Luchs, she drives through the stunning landscape of the Austrian mountains to their lodge for a weekend getaway. The couple sets off that evening on a short hike to the village to catch some of the excellent fresh air. They promise to return before dawn. The woman and the dog remain behind, sitting on the rustically romantic wooden porch. She appears out of place in her urban clothes. This is not her world.
The next morning, the couple has not yet returned. The woman wonders what might have happened. Her friends would never have been so inconsiderate as to leave her in the hut alone overnight. She decides to go and look for them, setting off in her city shoes with Luchs down the stony path to the valley. Suddenly the dog begins to howl and stops walking. The woman hits against an invisible wall. Bewildered, her hands move through the air touching the inexplicable barrier that separates her from the rest of the world. The blue sky and the nature around her seem as normal as always. The birds are chirping as if nothing has happened. She hears a loud thumping but then realizes it’s coming from inside her. Her heart is gripped with fear long before she even realizes it. What has happened? Surely someone must have sounded the alarm by now. Even more puzzling than this wall: There is not a single person in sight.
She is convinced that she will not be able to survive. And yet she knows that she must survive; there’s no way out for her. The second time the woman sets off to explore the area bounded by this wall, she is better equipped: Through her binoculars she can see the people in the neighboring hut, frozen in mid-motion as if turned to stone. A swift death must have caught them by surprise. Perhaps it would have been wiser had she gone with her friends into the village.
With time the woman manages to come to terms with her new surroundings. She finds a cow, which she names Bella. She plants potatoes, goes hunting, survives the winter. In the summer she moves to a nearby alpine hut and, inspired by the fascinating mountain scenery, she falls into the delicate experience of connecting with herself. The thought of someone ever finding her no longer haunts her, she realizes.
But one day, the time comes and she is found. But not as she had expected. This meeting changes her life a second time and, in her own way, she resolves the questions that will never let her go.
Julian Pölsler was born on the Kreuzberg,
a mountain overlooking the village of St. Lorenzen in the Paltental,
a valley in Styria, Austria. He studied Directing and Production at the
Vienna Film Academy as well as Directing and Dramaturgy at the
Max Reinhardt Seminar, working among others as the assistant director
to Axel Corti. Since 1990 he has been making TV movies and directing
for the opera. Furthermore, he holds a teaching position at the Konservatorium
of The City of Vienna in the Drama department and at
the Institute for Computer Science & Media of the Vienna University of
Technology. He lives and works in Vienna and Munich.
2012 The Wall
2009 Anna und der Prinz
2007 Bella Block
2006 Daniel Käfer und die Schattenuhr
2005 Daniel Käfer und die Villen der Frau Hürsch
2004 Hubert von Goisern TRAD 2
2002 Himmel Polt und Hölle
2001 Blumen für Polt, Sommer und Bolten
Written and directed by: Julian Roman Pölsler
based on the novel "Die Wand" by Marlen Haushofer
Producers: Antonin Svoboda, Martin Gschlacht, Bruno Wagner, Rainer Kölmel, Wasiliki Bleser
A production of coop99 filmproduktion (A), STARHAUS Filmproduktion(D)
In co-production with Bayerischer Rundfunk, ARTE
In cooperation with ORF (Film/Fernseh-Abkommen)
Fundey by Austrian Film Institute, Vienna Film Fund, Land OÖ Kultur, FFF Bayern, DFFF and Eurimages
Format: 35mm / 1:2.35 / Color / Dolby 5.1
Length: 108 Min.
Original Language: German