Leni Riefenstahl complained that directors Arnold Fanke and G.W. Pabst put her through a grueling shoot and claimed that they were deliberately cruel to her. Never-the-less this would be her most critically acclaimed performance. See more »
Most of the time, its the world. Its not the story that matters, or the inflections we see as jokes. Or any of that when I watch a movie.
Most of the time it is the trill of entering another universe. A different cosmology where the forces that drive souls are different from the one I have chosen to live in. Its especially rewarding when I know that the cosmos was real so far as the filmmakers are concerned. So, for instance I like those films from radical Christians about fighting the devil in the end times, because the film itself is part of that battle for them.
I like watching films from the US side of the cold war, where impending and nearly certain brimstone was expected from an evil empire, the science stolen, with agents still among us.
And I like watching these German mountain films. All the ones I mention are generally insipid, but the filmcraft of these in terms of the visuals is competent and sometimes interesting. For instance in this one there is a remarkable I will go so far as to say unforgettable visual of the villagers rousing in the night for rescue. The scene is of dozens of men with spectacular torches (they called them pitch torches) weaving through snow hollows in a sort of swooshy haunt. But that's visual froth on the beer.
What we have here is a strange association of nature with place, of purpose with nature and of love as a sort of purpose. One can readily see how this world could support a notion of global destiny, and in fact one can see how close it is to the cosmos of Polish Jews and see why the threat seemed so real. You can even trace it through the cinematic career of one remarkable woman, Leni, who evolved through the mystery of place to the mystery of the body. The natural body, using a very specific notion of "nature."
But for someone like me, a cosmological tourist, a collector of abstracted curios, this one in Leni's chain is the most jarring because it has the strongest pulse. You hardly notice the woman. Its all mountain blood.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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