London Film Festival 2012 – day seven: The Wall
The “Dare” category is described by the LFF this year as films that take you out of your comfort zone. Martina Gedeck (think a young, German Sigourney Weaver) is not only taken but violently propelled out of her comfort zone as she desperately searches for a meaning in a isolated part of the Austrian mountains. Adapted from Marlen Haushofer’s best selling novel of the 60s, The Wall tells the story of one women, her dog, a cow and a cat and their astonishing tale of survival.
The Wall begins with a woman, credited only as “Frau”, in a dusty, damp log cabin furiously noting down the past events. She narrates throughout the entirety of the film in the past tense, her haircut lets the audience know where we are (short for present and long for the past).
It begins calmly as Frau and two companions arrive at a log cabin with their dog Lynx, or “Luchs” high up in the Austrian peaks. Her friends decided to go and explore the village but when they don’t return the next morning; the woman becomes worried. She goes to explore but discovers a perplexing invisible wall that prevents her from walking any further forward. Following more investigation and the discovery of an eerie-looking frozen couple on the other side of the wall, she notices that she has been imprisoned.
For the following two years, through eight long seasons, director and screenwriter Julian Roman Polsler beautifully marries philosophically-charged dialogue with an orchestral score and some wonderful shots of the vast Austrian landscape. It is a slow process as Polsler attempts to intricately capture the regret and self-loathing that ultimately encases the woman as she comes to terms with her new reality. Her relationship with dog Lynx is heart-warming and provides a light touch but certainly the overall tone of the film is very unnerving as we arrive at a resolution that provides answers to some of the questions asked.
It is a bold first feature picture from Polsler and is an emotional and tense ride for both the audience and the unnamed woman. Gedeck’s solo performance is flawless as she portrays a woman locked within the confines of her own mind.
Read more reviews from the 56th London Film Festival here.
Watch the trailer here: