When, in 1991, a pair of German climbers on a route through the Alps found the mummy in perfect condition of a male at 3,200 meters, they assumed that it must be a hiker who died perhaps 20, 50 or 100 years ago. to the sumo. It was not unusual for the thaw to bring to the surface anonymous stories of this haze: silent witnesses of an accident, an irreversible fatality in an area straddling Italy and Austria, in South Tyrol.
The dating tests of the experts, however, yielded a surprising conclusion: Ötzi, as the mummy was baptized, was more than 5,300 years old. The ice had preserved it as it was from the Neolithic until today. At that exact point in the Alps a space-time door had opened to the past and scientists read in that 1.59-meter-high body a whole biography: their illnesses, the color of their eyes, the last meal, their tattoos , his clothes, the arsenal of weapons with which he traveled and even the way he was killed: treason and back.
In addition to certain unspeakable modesty, the feeling of violating a private space, Felix Randau felt the first time he visited Ötzi's mummy at the Museum of Bolzano (Italy) that "we could be any of us; it is a figure of universal significance. " By then he had not written the script of the film that would end up directing and presented today at the Archaeological Museum of Madrid. He simply wondered how it was possible that no one had wanted to narrate the life of that great-grandfather of the Neolithic: "If the body had been found in the United States had already made 50 movies."
He, a young German filmmaker, has set out to film this austere and peculiar "biopic", at times emotional in its own essentiality: man, nature, the struggle for survival and preponderance … And, of course, the violence. For Randau, "Ötzi, the man of ice", is first of all a film about the "circle of violence of humanity" represented in this inhabitant of the Alps who, when an enemy clan kills his family, sets out on the path of revenge. A particular odyssey of exalted passions that is worth as much in its narrative form for a clan of the most remote antiquity as for a departure from the Far West. "Yes, it can be said that I have made a" western "of the Neolithic," confesses Randau to LA RAZÓN.
Of course, in the history of Ötzi, even though everything happens 5 millennia ago, nothing is accidental, nothing is really fictitious: "Everything can be said that it is authentic because it could have been such," explains the director. A large group of specialists (archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists) have advised the production team so that no detail, beyond the plot that explains the last days of the protagonist's life, is anachronistic: those are the skins that Ötzi wore, the arrows that he shot, the animals he hunted, and even the cliffs he trampled. And it is that Randau took the camera to subzero temperatures and alpine heights so that the film (with Jürgen Vogel as protagonist) took part of the same landscapes in which the mummy was found. The most difficult thing, even in those mountains, "was finding spaces in a virgin state".
The film also has the peculiarity, unique, having been shot in the Rhaetian language, a language spoken in the area in the Neolithic and reconstructed in its original form by linguists. We understand nothing of what is said, although the meaning is practically never inaccessible. "It did not make sense to subtitle it," says Randau. The magic of that rudimentary language compensates. After all, it summarizes the German, the message of the film and the one we extract from Ötzi's own skin is that we are not so far from him: "Practically there have been no changes in the attitude of the human being; the essence is the same. "