Iceman: A European “Revenant”
by Giovanni Melogli
- LOCARNO 2017: Felix Randau's film is inspired by Ötzi, the mummy found in the Venetian Alps on Similaun Mountain, at the border between Austria and Italy in 1991
Iceman [+see also:
film profile], presented in the Piazza Grande at the 70th Locarno Festival, is inspired by Ötzi, the mummy found in the Venetian Alps on the Similaun Mountain, at the border between Austria and Italy in 1991. It tells the story of the body of a man dating back 5,300 years to the Copper Age. A mummy perfectly preserved in the Similaun glacier, killed by a stinging arrow at the age of 40 or 50.
This is the spark that ignited the imagination of German director Felix Randau, and seduced producer Jan Krüger. "I was fascinated by the ability to tell the story of a European native by introducing elements of fiction into a historical context while staying as close to reality as possible," Felix explains at a press conference.
In the Neolithic era a clan settles near a stream in a valley in the Venetian Alps, their leader is Kelab, played by the convincing Jürgen Vogel, guardian of the reliquary from Tineka. One day, while Kelab is out hunting the village is raided, clan members are brutally killed, including Kelab's wife and son, the only survivor is a newborn, and their precious relict has been stolen. Gripped by the pain, Kelab is thrown into the pursuit of the marauders, in search of revenge, bringing the newborn along with him.
In order to stay loyal to the historical context, the film's characters grunt an archaic variant of the Rhaetian language, clearly indecipherable. A choice that was right on the money for a film that is built on basic human needs, impulses and instincts and does not need nuanced and sophisticated language to guide the audience through the story.
Among the film's main characters, it’s the majestic and untameable nature that stands out; still untouched by the omnipotence of man, dominating and indifferent to the destinies of the world.
Felix Randau was born in Emden in 1974. After graduating in German Literature and Ethnology at the University of Bonn, he studied at the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie (DFFB) in Berlin. His film thesis Northern Star (2003) was nominated for the First Steps Award and also won the Studio Hamburg award for new talent. In 2007 he directed The Calling Game. Iceman is his third feature-length film.
(Translated from Italian)
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