Friday, December 6, 2013

Much More than a Feminist Parable

The Wall/Die Wand (2012) - Pölsler
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It is very hard to disregard The Wall as a 'what-if' tinged sci-fi in the tradition of Twilight Zone that The Simpsons is so keen on ripping off of. Based on a 60's novel by Marlen Haushofer, the film tells a frumpy, middle aged woman (played superbly by Martina Gedeck) suddenly finding herself cut off from the rest of the world overnight by an invisible wall in the wilderness of the stunning Austrian Alps. It's as if the time has stopped outside the wall. The old couple it the neighboring cabin on the other side of the wall has frozen in their daily activities. Yet, the nature prevails: the birds chirp, the trees sway in the wind, the stream gently flows.... It's just her and her dog, Lynx, alone. She slowly accepts this nightmarish fact and starts a journal, cataloging her thoughts and activities in the back of an old calendar she finds in her cousin's hunting lodge. She goes on long treks to map out the limits of her territories. She learns herself how to survive by hunting and growing crops. The seasons change, and she slowly begins to enjoy living in nature. Crippling loneliness is compensated only by Lynx and other animal friends. Taking care of her animals become her sole reason to go on. But her peace is not meant to last long.

The star of the film is undoubtedly its spectacular setting and cinematography. As our unnamed protagonist treks, works and rests in four seasons in day/night time, we are presented with the majestic Alps scenery. Contemplative, and strangely moving by the end, The Wall doesn't come across only as some sort of a feminist parable on the modern world. The whole experience is much more than that.