North Face (12a)
Set in 1936, this film is based on a true story of an attempt to climb the north face of the Eiger. Known as “the death wall” because of the number of climbers who had died trying to scale it, it had become something of an obsession amongst Alpinists. The actual summit of this peak in the Swiss Alps had been reached by other routes seventy years before. The politics of the time demanded that the winning team should be German as the Nazi Party believed this would be a stunning piece of propaganda in the lead-up to the Berlin Olympic Games. The two young climbers who undertook the challenge were Toni Kurz (Benno Fürmann) and Andi Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas).
However, the politics and a love story are secondary to the story of the actual ascent which is completely gripping. The director and cinematographer have gone for a naturalistic documentary look. The cinemaphotographer Kolja Brandt described the process, “… we then selected a rather rough, hand-held camera look for the film. This makes the scenes on the mountain look very believable while also perfectly suiting the other scenes as well, since it generates rough-edged images and dynamically discourages the temptation to become painterly, which is inseparable from a historical film with its sets, costumes, hair styles, etc.”
Cast: Benno Fürmann, Florian Lukas
Philipp Stölz | Germany | 2008 | 121 minutes | 12a
Weighted vote 92.6%