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The Wall

Die Wand

Martina Gedeck stars in a mesmerising Austrian drama about a woman trapped in the Alps, confronting the great outdoors and her own inner humanity.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

Image gallery

  • Director-Screenwriter Julian Roman Pölsler
  • Producer Rainer Kölmel, Antonin Svoboda, Martin Gschlacht, Wasiliki Bleser
  • With Martina Gedeck
  • Austria-Germany 2012
  • 108 mins
  • UK distribution New Wave Films

Not many films so directly address the Human Condition as intense, contemplative Alpine drama The Wall, adapted from Marlen Haushofer’s 60s bestseller. The film is effectively a solo tour de force for Martina Gedeck as a woman who finds herself alone and trapped – by an inexplicable, invisible force – in a remote corner of the Austrian mountains. Once we accept this premise, somewhere between sci-fi and Kafka, the existential dimensions of the dilemma facing this Robinson Crusoe of the mountains become increasingly resonant – not least because the film’s exploration of her plight is so concrete. Dazzlingly shot over several seasons by a team of cinematographers, this is a mesmerising, philosophically rich drama about solitude and the things that, against all odds, keep us human. With Gedeck’s subtly imposing performance, The Wall is a stunningly original drama, and one of recent cinema’s finest explorations of the Great Outdoors.
Jonathan Romney

Director statement

From the first time I read The Wall 25 years ago, I have been tracking the path for this novel’s adaptation. I finally ended up working for seven years on the script. It was a slow and lengthy process... It was important for me to adapt as much of the novel as possible into the film – hence the off-screen voice. […] I grew up on a mountain farm above the Paltental valley in the Steiermark in Austria, completely isolated from the rest of the world, nurtured by a wonderful family and surrounded by magnificent nature. Perhaps this is why nature is so important for me. I’m not an urban neurotic. I’m a nature neurotic... I find that nature could almost have played a greater lead role in this film. Along with the off-screen commentary and the Bach partitas, a third form of language in the film deserves more space: the silence of nature. […] I didn’t want the wall to be shown. I wanted it to appear as non-physical as possible. It had to be clear that the wall is neither tangible nor graspable. Aside from the woman’s first encounter with the wall, it only appears visible in her nightmares and in the scenes where the Bach partitas continue the narrative, which are used every time the woman approaches the wall physically or in her thoughts. […] The Wall pays homage to all the women who are forced today to live behind an invisible wall of ignorance and intolerance.
Julian Pölsler

Director biography

Born in Styria in Austria in 1954, he studied directing at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts and at the Institute for Cultural Management, subsequently working as an assistant director. A director of a number of television productions since 1982, and of operas since 2006, he also teaches at various Austrian universities and colleges. The Wall was premiered in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival in 2012.


2012 Die Wand (The Wall)

Read the Time Out review.

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