Film Extra: The Wall

PUBLISHED: 11:32 27 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:32 27 June 2013

The Wall. (12A) Directed by Julian Roman Polster. Starring Martina Gedeck. Released July In German with subtitles. 108 mins ***

The Wall gives the cinema a previously unimagined horror – a woman whose life turns in Marcel Marceau. One morning she wakes in a cabin in the Austrian mountains to finds herself bumping into an invisible wall blocking the road to the nearest village and hemming her into that area with no way of communicating with the outside world. As days become weeks, months become years the isolation gnaws away at her humanity, at her sense of herself.

It is like a Twilight Zone episode written by Herman Hesse. It’s a scenario loaded with dramatic possibilities but no time is wasted on suspense; the film fixes on the earnest existential questions her dilemma poses.

It’s a powerful treatise but at some point you may feel yourself despairing that of all the people in the world to get in an absurdist representation of existential despair, it had to be her. On the voiceover narration the woman tells us of her periods of despair but what we see is someone who roles up her sleeves and deals with this revised set of life circumstances. It is surely a mistake that Polster’s adaptation of an acclaimed novel by Marlen Haushofer doesn’t tell you anything about her life prior to imprisonment. The impression you get is that she wasn’t particularly happy previously, and getting stuck behind The Wall is just one more disappointment she has to deal with.

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