Die Bergfilm #1 — Introduction

by Vincent Thorne

The Bergfilm (literally “mountain movie”) is a German film genre which flourished during the 1920s and 1930s. Born in the midst of the turbulent interwar period, the Bergfilm is the outdoors movie par excellence and appears like an attempt to escape the fast growing, suffocating, cosmopolitan (and in some regards decadent) metropolises of the plains.

Der Heilige Berg, 1926

Der Heilige Berg, 1926

Reviving classical values of strength and courage and combining them with a love for the Heimat (motherland) and its epic natural features, the genre morally paved the way for (or was it the result of?) the conservative turn taken by Germany at the time.

In this post series, I will propose a discussion on a few Bergfilm topics, starting with a brief summary of the historical context from which the genre emerged. I will then discuss the themes and motives tackled by three prominent Bergfilme, before diving into the legacy it left to cinema.