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 ... See full summary »
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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
The Ice Palace was 16 meters high and it took 4 weeks to build. Because the shootings where delayed and the temperature increased, it started melting and it had to be rebuilt again when the weather was cold enough to maintain it. See more »
Some superb cinematography is the only thing that saves this fairly turgid melodrama from being completely ordinary. Given the stunning scenery featured here it would be difficult for even the most workmanlike of cinematographers to come away without some spectacular shots, but in the hands of a veritable army of credited cinematographers we are left with a succession of images that will remain in the memory long after other details of the film have been forgotten.
Leni Riefenstahl, who would later become notorious for directing Nazi propaganda films for Hitler, plays the heroine, a dancer who falls in love with a dashing skier. The skier's young friend, also dashing but in a less mature way, also falls for her and both men mistakenly believe the young man's love is reciprocated a misunderstanding that leads to tragedy.
When she's called upon to emote, Riefenstahl overacts horrendously, flinging her arms into the air, half-swooning against any nearby piece of furniture or wall, and hysterically biting her hands when she's not throwing her head into them. She really is shocking and, given everyone else's more naturalistic style, she ends up coming across as a highly-strung diva who's misplaced her happy pills, which I don't believe is what the director is looking for.
Anyway, it's nature, and not Riefenstahl, who is the real star. The film heavily symbolises the links her character (the sea) and her lover (the stone) share with nature, scenes of which the camera seems to gorge itself on, suggesting a reverence that lends the most natural of phenomenon an almost mythical quality. The director juxtaposes the vast open spaces of the mountains and the sea with extreme close-ups of the principal's faces to offer an insight into their emotions and emphasise the disparities that will drive them apart.
And if you happen to catch this film, bear in mind as the film beseeches you to that there is no trick photography in use here: that man really is peering over the edge of a sheer cliff with the front of his skis in mid-air, and the cameraman really is hurtling down the ski-slopes with his subjects as he captures how it feels to take part in a rugged ski race. Forget the dreary romance, these scenes and the breathtaking shots in which we see climbers pinned to mountains at the far left of the picture and silhouetted against a vast sky - are the moments that breathe life into this film.
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