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NORTH FACE

Director: PHILIPP STÖLZL

GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND • 2008 SUBTITLED • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 35MM • 126 MIN


The thrills and excitement of the rock face are captured to fine effect in this grippingly staged mountain movie from director Philipp Stolzl. Based on true events, the film is set in 1936, when the Olympic Games are close at hand and Nazi Germany is lusting for new heroes. Mountaineers from all over Europe head for the north face of the Eiger, hoping to win a gold medal. Among them are climbing aces Toni Kurz (Benno Furmann) and Andi Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas). Journalist Luise Fellner (Johanna Wokalek), who knows Toni and Andi from childhood, is despatched to cover the climb by her cynical editor, who’s a Nazi sympathiser.

Although boasting fine performances and an unfussy sense of period detail, the main strength of Stolzl’s film is its meticulous recreation of the climb and its nail-biting setbacks. Convincingly blending location work in Switzerland with doubles and studio shooting, the film’s climbing scenes have real grit, plus a chill factor that reaches deep into the viewer’s bones.

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