The story “Iceman” comes from Ominbus Entertianment and director/writer Felix Randau to portray a time in history that is still being discovered and constantly changes today.
The film tells the story of Kaleb (Jurgen Vogel), a man who is part of a small village. Surrounded by his woman and other members, they lived a quiet and productive life. When Kaleb ventures out one day to do some hunting up in the hills, he doesn’t know that a band of men is about to destroy everything he knows.
Seeing the smoke from his village, Kaleb returns to discover everyone is dead and those responsible are lingering nearby. After they leave, he goes from house to house looking for survivors. Away from the village next to a young boy, the newest member of their tribe has been protected from the savagery.
Kaleb clearly makes the decision to track down those responsible and holding them accountable. Taking the child with him, their travels are difficult and slow. As he closes in on the men responsible, he makes a decision regarding the child that becomes a necessity.
The weather begins to change but Kaleb pushes on until he finds what he is looking for and makes the second biggest decision of this journey. Sometimes when you are blinded by vengeance, you don’t see what’s coming.
Vogel as Kaleb plays a man of few words but then again this is a film with few words. He is a strong man among his people and when it is all stripped away, he has nothing to lose regarding his decisions. This actor has the unique ability to let his acting speak volumes and I understood every message he is trying to convey. It takes a lot to impress me and Vogel has done just that with this performance. Inviting me into this journey and then keeping me there through the entire story is what I love about this film.
In playing the role of Kaleb, Vogel says, “The great thing about being an actor is that there are always roles that present a challenge. Roles like this one make you learn a lot. It got me interested in Otzi and the time he lives in and the script is really exciting. I didn’t have to think about it for long. I found the idea of playing Otzi fascinating because this role is something completely new for me.”
The theme of revenge for the character of Kaleb is front and center after discovering his family and friends are dead. Vogel says, “Ortiz is compelled by revenge to extremes and only then does he sense that he has gone too far. In this early period, the rule of force was applied to exercise justice, but men also have feelings, a conscience, this is not an invention of the modern age. That is what links us today with this Stone Age man. We can identify with his conflicts and challenge just as much today”.
Other cast include Andre Hennricke as Krant, Sabin Tambrea as Tasar, Susanne Wuest as Kisis, Martin Schneider as Gosar, Violetta Schurawlow as Mitar, Anna F. as Rulan, Paula Renzler as Rasop and Franco Nero as Ditob.
Where did the idea of this character come from, well I’m about to tell you.
In 1991, two hikers were walking near Tisenjoch/Giogo di Tisa in the Senales Valley when they discovered a human corpse. Believing it was someone who had died due to exposure on the mountain, what they did not realize is exactly what they had found and how it would change what we know about early man.
Unable to bring the body down due to the weather, they did manage to bring an axe that was found and showed it to Reinhold Messner who realized it was very old. Returning to finally retrieve the body, they would also make a discover of personal items and a bow. Taking their find to Otztal Valley in Austria, the forensics could begin.
Testing concluded that the man was over 5,000 years old and when researchers returned to where he was found, they uncovered other possessions. As the study of the mummy continued, they would discover tattoos and what seemed to be his understanding of illness and how to treat what ailed him like the use of birch bracket fungus.
The clothing found with Otzi consisted of leather and grass fibers and a fair amount of braiding. His tools consisted of a copper axe, a dagger and tools to make repairs. He was also found with a woven map and other items.
The question became, how did Otzi die? It quickly became clear that he was shot with an arrow but may have also been attacked days before he died. The question then became was he hunted down and murdered? All of this would come into play in making of the film “Iceman”.
Writer/director Randau says about the story, “When we started getting into the material, I had been searching for a mythical figure from our culture who could provide me with the basis for an archaic story — the drama of man, as it were. Then Otzi simply arrived at my doorstep, a gift that I gladly accepted.”
Producer Jan Kruger adds, “I have to frankly admit that Otiz hadn’t really been on my radar before Felix game me this script to read. I was reminded of films like “Dances with Wolves” and “Quest for Fire,” which I found brilliant. A native subject from Europe and on top of that, an uncopyrighted protagonist.”
In regards to the lack of language in the film (which by the way I felt was in no way needed), Randau said, “I wrote the story in such a way that language does not have any dramaturgic function in the classical sense. The plot is not driven forward by the spoken word”. Of course there are moments in the film where there is a language that although no one knows how language was used at that time, Randau called on linguist Chasper Pult to help.
“Iceman” takes us on the journey of a man who feels the need for justice. From the moment the film began I was taken in and never turned away from the screen. Every movement the peoples of this time made was not wasted — from living life, making food, rituals of death, making clothing, hunting and even revenge. This film does exactly the same thing — wastes nothing.
Using the surroundings to bring the story even more believability, I have to give the cast and crew so much credit because it looked rough, cold, wet and uncomfortable. That being said the places chosen to bring the story to film are sheer perfection in keeping me invested in the storyline.
If you given the opportunity see “Iceman” and share in the wonder of someone who once lived in our world and the story that needed to be told.
In the end — they found a man but not his story!