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The film tells the story of Katharina who has to escape from Bavaria to Tyrol together with her husband. Of all the times in the year of 1809. There she faces these tough times of the revolution and its leader Andreas Hofer on a small croft in the Mountains of Passira, truly engaged in the chaos of war. An historical adventure reviving the 200th anniversary of the Hofer-Revolt against Bavaria and Napoleon. Shot on original settings. Written by
The original German title "Bergblut" translates into English as "Blood Mountain", a much more poetic and fitting title than the misleading "Holy Land of Tyrol".
Despite the English title, and despite the fact that writer/director Philipp Pamer was born in South Tyrolia, releasing this film on the 200th year anniversary of the Tyrolian rebellion which it depicts, this is surprisingly NOT a very patriotic film. Rather than glorifying the peasants of Tyrol who went up against Napoleon, it portrays them as flawed human beings, crude, bigoted and rather unlovable. This took me by surprise, and I spent half the movie trying to figure out who the "good guys" were.
Then it dawned on me: there really are no good guys. There are good motives, good ideals and certainly good intentions, but what I liked about this movie was the realism of showing people as they truly are. Although this sort of presentation may be difficult to digest, especially if you're expecting a clean good-vs-evil war story, it gives the tale a provocative dimension.
The story itself is basic. It takes the narrative point of view of an upper-class Bavarian woman who gave up all her comforts to marry a poor Tyrolian man. From her frigid welcome into the man's family & country, we soon figure out that this is the story of an person faced with extreme prejudice. The interesting part is how she learns to deal with it.
The war serves as a backdrop and is not intended to be the primary focus of the film, similar to the way "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly" was set during the Civil War without focusing on the war, or similar to the way "Madame Sans-Gêne" was set during the French Revolution but was more tuned to personal life. The focus falls instead on individuals, personalities and human nature during desperate times.
One thing that did seem like a "propaganda" angle (and deservedly so!) was the lush scenery & gorgeous landscapes featured prominently. Right after the flick I found myself checking cheap airfares to South Tyrol. FYI, it's $933 roundtrip from NYC (ugh, I guess I'll be sticking with the $5 DVD).
Acting is well done and convincing, cinematography is artistic (I loved the extreme darkness/lighting), sets & costumes are dirty & realistic, and the musical score is lavish. This is a worthwhile film and an excellent debut feature from Philipp Pamer.
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