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The dancer, Diotima, meets an engineer and skier, Karl, in his cottage in the mountains where they fall in love and have an affair. When Karl's young friend, Vigo, meets her she gives him her scarf. The infatuated Vigo mistakenly believes she is in love with him. Karl sees Diotima innocently caressing Vigo and he believes that Diotima is betraying him with his friend. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Exceptional winter alpine filming in Upper Engadine
The simple storyline is about Diotima, an inspirational dancer played by Leni Riefenstahl, and her love story with Karl, a tough mountain lover who, in the best German romantic tradition, finds the Absolute climbing the highest peaks. The greatness of the movie is in the winter mountain scenery and in the filming of ski competitions. Some of the filming was done in Upper Engadin, in Sils-Maria, a small Swiss village about 6 miles west of St. Moritz. In one scene it is clearly recognizable the Mount Margna and in a few others, the village of Sils-Maria is visible with the Hotel Alpenrose and the Chesa Zuan (both are still standing and look remarkably similar). Some other filming is probably from the nearby Val Fex, and there is also a beautiful view of the Silsersee with Maloja visible in the distance.
Considering the limited technical support available for winter alpine filming in 1926, it is remarkable that the photography is mostly crisp and engaging, and that it shows the peculiar light quality of Upper Engadin.
Riefenstahl's acting is fantastic but inevitably dated. She is expressive and intense, with a bit of influence from Weimar Expressionism. She outclasses all other actors, who appear unidimensional.
A movie strongly recommended, if only for the incredible quality of alpine photography and for the timeless Riefenstahl performance.
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