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 ...
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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
Well made period drama with an intimate feel, not an epic love story
I agree with one reviewer that the original title in German (either "Blood Mountain" or, I'm thinking, "Mountain Blood") is more fitting to the narrative and theme than "The Holy Land of Tyrol," a concept that is mentioned once, in the opening voice-over, and seems a mistranslation of the notion of the Biblical "Promised Land." The title in English could mislead the viewer into thinking this is a religious film, which it is not. The people depicted are Catholic and pray the rosary, but they're also farming, cooking, doctoring, partying (after early success in the rebellion).
The Bavarian Katharina is a doctor's daughter in the city of Augsburg who falls in love with a Tyrolean carpenter named Franz and flees with him to his family home in the Alps after a fight with a French soldier of Napoleon's occupation makes him a wanted man. Her inexplicable fortitude and courage to stay on this poor mountaintop farm in the face of Franz's unwelcoming brothers and parents, particularly an antagonizing mother-in-law, becomes the focus of the film early on. Katharina grew up educated, with servants, with nice clothes, in a lovely home, and hasn't the slightest notion of how to milk a cow, decant the vinegar, or even how to efficiently slice the potatoes. In Hollywood this might have been played for laughs, but here the unsympathetic matriarch not only shows her no kindness, but consistently chastises her. In town Katharina is also despised because of her nationality—her only ally being the parish priest, himself a Bavarian transplant. Her emotional isolation is complete when Franz leaves with his younger brother Veit to serve as sharp-shooters in the Tyrolean rebellion.
Katharina proves helpful at nursing Franz's ailing father back to health after a gunshot wound and increases her knowledge of folk healing arts working alongside Franz's older brother Hermann, a country doctor of sorts who eventually enlists her help in the town's makeshift infirmary for war-wounded. Battles themselves happen off-screen, and the viewer is spared amputations and other gore, while the bloody aprons and bandages establish the facts. The characters' story eventually intersects with that of rebel leader Andreas Hofer, a historical figure who espouses the population's desire for self-determination and the choice to stop running. But it's not preachy; there's no eloquent oratory; no supernatural heroics; and no perfect characters in this film. Katharina rebukes the Tyroleans who refuse her help, pointing out their stupidity and the futility of their out-manned, outclassed struggle. She wins and loses the affections of her in-laws during the course of the story. Without giving away any spoilers, her marriage has its own ups and downs.
I'm trying to brush up on my German, so I found this film included with Amazon Prime. I noticed the English subtitles are effective translations, and the dialogue is not wordy, so it shouldn't be too off-putting for people who have little tolerance for "reading" their movies. It's more about country life and a personal story, carried largely by facial expressions, characters' behaviors, and production design, than it is about any sort of details of the war and the political demarcations that were in flux in that era. It's not a pretty period piece but rather a gritty portrait of crude living that does not at the same time belabor the tribulations of trying to farm that impossible landscape—it's not a farming movie; it's not a war movie; I wouldn't even say it's a love story per se, because we don't really know much about Katharina and Franz's courtship and why they're devoted to each other. Still, I was strangely enchanted by this film, and it's certainly a glimpse of one slice of the Napoleon era that I've never seen anywhere else.
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