Mountain Trip is a cinematic myriorama constructed of hundreds of Austrian postcards, which reflect a country´s hackneyed trappings as no other medium can.
(Siegfried A. Fruhauf)
The parameters of this experiment have been clearly defined: Two rows of postcards with mountain motifs (the cards in the upper row have been turned on their heads) are juxtaposed in such a way that mountains point to other mountains, the denouement of a massif butts up against a meadow, etc., resembling Chinese "cadavre exquis" cards which can be arranged to show an endless landscape. The camera pans to the right, and its speed varies while alpine folk music plays in a monotonous loop.
One would expect the camera´s movements to accelerate, the mountains flowing together into a blurred line. Instead, Fruhauf works with imponderabilities, breaks and irritations. The acceleration is not continuous; there are new approaches, repetitions of motifs and jumps. The transitions shift and are jerky as if the postcards were held in someone´s hand; the unity of the individual shots is extremely unstable….
While the observer´s gaze willingly accepts the alpine panoramas at first, it is gradually channeled into the undercurrent of something in between, the irregular border between top and bottom. The accuracy of detail in the mountain genres (according to statistics, most people still think of a mountain landscape when asked to imagine a "pretty picture") dissolves into a non-referential dynamic.
One is reminded of how the borders come alive in the course of several hours in Michael Snow´s La région centrale and may regret that this trip ends after only four minutes.
Fruhauf enjoys emphasizing the raw, handmade, seemingly unfinished. Mountain Trip undertakes a virtual trip home, a journey through a series of postcards, moving across an increasingly surreal landscape: The traditional image of alpine Austria, re- and simultaneously deconstructed in the form of kitschy landscape photographs that have been strung together, is dismantled to the accompaniment of poisonous colors and aggressive music made by an overdriven accordion.
The director turns the postcards into a wild stream of images, reminiscent of the way overweight hikers might feel in the thin mountain air.
english print version