Based on a true story, North Face is a suspenseful adventure film about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. Set in 1936, as Nazi propaganda urges the nation's ... See full summary »
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Based on a true story, North Face is a suspenseful adventure film about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. Set in 1936, as Nazi propaganda urges the nation's Alpinists to conquer the unclimbed north face of the Swiss massif - the Eiger - two reluctant German climbers begin their daring ascent. Written by
As Luise Fellner and her boss, Herr Arau, arrive at the Eiger, the local guides are standing in front of the hotel advertising their services to the tourists. One of the guides notices a pair of climbers in the crowd. "Look who's coming," he says, "Bartolo Sandri and Mario Menti." A fellow guide mutters: "Another couple of fools. Come in a train and leave in a coffin." These two Italian climbers fell to their deaths from the north face June 21, 1938. See more »
At the beginning of the film, when Luisa watches the news in the cinema theater, the voice-over gets the first-names of the alpinists who died on the Eiger wrong. It says Max Mehringer and Karl Sedlmayr, but it's the opposite: KARL Mehringer and MAX Sedlmayr. This may have been intended to show the unreliability of the report. See more »
[in German, quoting English subtitles]
When you're at the bottom - Toni once told me - at the foot of the wall, and you look up, you ask yourself: How can anyone climb that? Why would anyone even want to? But hours later when you're at the top looking down, you've forgotten everything. Except the one person you promised you would come back to.
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Not just a great climbing film -- it's a little masterpiece
Nordwand moves along like a finely jeweled Swiss watch. It functions at many levels: It is the story of a young female trying to earn respect in a man's world of journalism in 1936 Berlin. It is the story of her boss, whose "nose for news" reflects the morbid fascination of a readership that craves either the heights of historic triumph or the depths of tragic failure -- any middle ground is not "newsworthy." It is the tale of young friends trying to make names for themselves by daring exploit.
The film poses many questions. Is our attraction to mortally dangerous acts powered by the same force that drew Roman crowds to the gladiator arena? Do adventurers seek glory for themselves, or are they goaded to risk their lives for the satisfaction of others? And if the daring cross the line between the heroic and the foolhardy, must their rescuers do the same?
This film is a travelogue back in time, from Berlin to Bavaria to the Swiss Alps by bicycle and train. It's an art film, with the Eiger providing photogenic backdrop. It's an adventure film. It's a love story. It's a tragedy. It is one part historic documentary and three parts cinematic drama, all in cadence. Oh yes, it is also a great film about climbing.
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