News from the Locarno Festival


Piazza Grande




The Similaun mummy, aka Ötzi, is a curious phenomenon in which science and pop culture are intertwined. One of the most valuable human bodies that antiquity has given us, found in 1991 in the mountains of South Tyrol about 5300 years following his death. We know today, not only that he was about 1.60 m tall and that an arrowhead had lodged in his shoulder, but also that he had 61 tattoos, and that he'd eaten ibex on his last meal. Moreover, it had even been attempted to synthesize the sound of his voice. And if this was not enough, a famous and unforgettable Austrian DJ chose him for his name of art, Brad Pitt tattooed his silhouette on an arm, an asteroid was dedicated to him, in addition to a theme park, and yes, finally, also a film. The challenge of Felix Randau is to solve not only the whodunit, given Ötzi's violent death, but also as far as possible the whowashe, from research on the Copper Age and the objects found on the mummy, to a backward writing that chooses to deprive itself of the essential instrument of every script, words and dialogues, and aim at the pure and physical performance of the actor Jürgen Vogel. In contrast to the prehistoric filmmaking, among which not few titles end up as bankrupt comedies, Iceman carries out a radical operation on the language present but indecipherable. But if language is the tool through which we have given form to identities and relationships, the film implicitly compels us to question our gaze on the characters: according to what rules do they act? Do they have a psychology? Or just beliefs and fears? What is violence for them? For a film where nothing is said, there are many questions we try to answer by following the footsteps of Ötzi. Just as it is fascinating to let the gaze wander on the majestic alpine landscapes that preserved him for millennia.

Sergio Fant

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