The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

The wall opens

with 14 comments


Long time no see!

What have I been up to? I don’t know. A huge workload. A need for rest I guess. Lots of movie watching, but no strong desire to write about them. Until now.

It’s about time that I get this place running. I feel the itch. It’s in the air. The force is with me. It’s time to leave the solitude and once again contemplate what I see publicly.

It seems appropriate that the thing that pulled me out from my temporary isolation from movie blogging was the Austrian film The Wall. The idea to watch it was given to me by Lena, who runs the movie blog Moving Landscapes. We’re both members of a Swedish network of movie bloggers, which regularly runs blogathons on various themes. This month we agreed on giving each other challenges, where we were supposed to dictate a movie to another randomly chosen blogger. It should preferably be something that went beyond what the movie blogger normally would watch. An opportunity to expand our horizons a bit.

Since I’m fairly broad in my taste for movies and love almost all sorts of movies, from the block buster to the low budget artsy film festival reel, it’s not all that easy to find a good challenge. I think this pick was a good effort though. While I watch many different types of movies they have one thing in common: most of them are in English. If you check out my blog there are very, very few movies in German. There’s a couple of Haneke’s movies, there’s Fritz Lang’s M and Wings of Desire but that’s about it. It’s not that I leave out movies from Germany and Austria on purpose, out of prejudices. I just don’t run across them a lot I guess. It’s very rare that they get cinematic release in Sweden.

In the case of The Wall, it’s certainly not something that you stumble upon by accident. It hasn’t got any distribution in Sweden whatsoever, digital or DVD. You have to buy an import version, with English subtitles, which enhanced the feeling that I was watching something that was beyond the ordinary, a movie which probably very few Swedes have seen or even heard of.

So what kind of movie is this? Well, I guess you could say that it’s some kind of mix between a “one man’s (woman’s in this case) survival” drama and a “something weird has happened to the world and we don’t know what it is” fantasy movie. The entire film takes place around a cottage in the Austrian Alps. A woman wakes up one morning and finds herself cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible, impenetrable wall. She has to find a way to survive on her own, with a couple of animals as her only company. The film shows how she deals with the situation. The woman is basically the only person in the movie, apart from a couple of very brief appearances and almost every line she utters is in the form of a voiceover, excerpts from her diary that he reads aloud.

It’s a somewhat sombre, slow burning film, which contains less action and intensity than you might expect from a movie about someone struggling for their life. The woman, excellently portrayed by Martina Gedeck, adjusts to her new life situation surprisingly well, without having a mental breakdown or cursing the world. She’s miserable, but still content at some level. In the review at The Guardian, they called it a “Walden pond with added wall”, which I think is a spot on way to describe it. We never get any explanation why the wall is there, if it’s a natural phenomenon, a glitch in the time-space continuum, an alien invasion or some kind of magic at work. This opens up for all sorts of interpretations of what actually is going on. Is it really about a woman who is trapped physically in the mountains? Or is it in fact an effort to depicture a state of mental illness, like depression?

It’s not a movie I would recommend to everyone I know. It’s probably too odd for most people. I kind of liked it though. It seemed appropriate. But unlike the heroine, I’m now going to reach out to the other side of my wall.

Hey out there! It’s good to be back. I’ve missed you!

The Wall (Die Wand, Julian Pölser, Austria 2012) My rating: 4/5


This post is a part of a blogathon in the Swedish network Filmspanarna.


Links to the other bloggers who picked up a challenge (all in Swedish):

Absurd cinema
Fiffis filmtajm
Fripps filmrevyer
Joel Burman
The Nerd Bird
Har du inte sett den (blog)
Har du inte sett den (podcast)
Rörliga bilder och tryckta ord

Written by Jessica

January 7, 2015 at 6:00 am

Posted in The Wall

14 Responses

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  1. Yay! Welcome back!

    Looks like The Wall is available on Netflix for those in the States. I might have to check it out. I’m preferring to think it is a horror movie where the horror is having to actually spend time with yourself.


    January 7, 2015 at 6:26 am

  2. Wow being a guy that really enjoys Haneke’s early films this seem kind of seems up that alley. Definitively goes on my to watch list.

    Joel Burman

    January 7, 2015 at 6:45 am

  3. Hey Jessica. Long time no see indeed. Ive been quiet myself lately. Sounds loke we’ve been in a similar place in terms of movie watching but no desire to write about them. Just brought myself back yesterday and hope to be around a little while longer. Hope you are too 🙂

    Mark Walker

    January 7, 2015 at 6:57 am

  4. […] och Erik) Flmr Jojjenito The Nerd Bird Filmitch Fripps filmrevyer Movies-Noir Fiffis filmtajm The Velvet Café Moving […]

  5. Welcome back Jessica! Like Mark, I’ve not been around much either. I assume the blogging community as fallen apart without as! 🙂

    Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop

    January 7, 2015 at 9:47 am

  6. Hey, welcome back! It´s great that you reach out from behind the wall, or you could crash it or burn it or just demount it. 😉

    Interesting choice of challenge from Lena, a great one I think. Like a mix between Under the dome, All is lost and Wild?


    January 7, 2015 at 11:28 am

  7. A very nice read. Haven’t seen that one. 🙂
    I have published my own review now. I enjoyed it very much, so thanks for the trip!


    January 7, 2015 at 11:53 am

  8. Welcome back!


    January 7, 2015 at 1:37 pm

  9. Aha, interesting choice. I knew of the title, but had no plans of watching it. Austrian film (not just Haneke) has proved to be quite interesting. Most of the time odd and challenging films. In this case you also have a solid actress in Martina Gedeck (Das Leben der Anderen and Der Baader Meinhof Komplex to name two of her films). Might have to check this one out.

    In the mean time, I’d like to recommend two other, lesser known Austrian films from the last couple of years (both from 2011):

    Movies - Noir

    January 7, 2015 at 3:36 pm

  10. Great to hear from you again!


    January 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm

  11. Welcome back and see you on Saturday even though we will enjoy different movies. 😉

    This seems like really interesting film. When googling about it I saw that it was based on a novel from 1963. I can’t help wonder if Stephen King found inspiration from it when he wrote Under the Dome. Might watch the film at some point. Just hope that it is a bit more exciting than the Swedish sf drama The Quiet Roar that I for some reason came to think of now.


    January 7, 2015 at 8:21 pm

  12. Great to see you clawing your way back to the bloggosphere 🙂 Sounds like an excellent challenge and one that hit the spot as well.


    January 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm

  13. Great review!

    Paul S

    January 11, 2015 at 1:46 am

  14. Great to see you back! 🙂


    January 17, 2015 at 6:56 pm

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