Martina Gedeck (think a young, German Sigourney Weaver) is violently propelled out of her comfort zone, desperately searching for meaning in an isolated part of the Austrian mountains. Adapted from Marlen Haushofer’s bestselling novel of the 60s, The Wall tells the story of one woman, 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 recording past events. She narrates throughout the entirety of the film in the past tense, her haircut letting 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 decide to go and explore the village but when they don’t return the next morning, Frau becomes worried. She goes to explore but discovers a perplexing invisible wall that prevents her from walking any further. Following more investigation and the discovery of an eerie looking “frozen couple” on the other side of the wall, she realises 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 Frau 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.
It is a bold first feature picture from Polsler and is an emotional and tense ride for both the audience and Frau. Gedeck’s solo performance is flawless as she portrays a woman locked within the confines of her own mind.
The Wall is released on 5th July 2013.
Watch the trailer for The Wall here: