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by Various Authors

grade: 7

While watching Bozen mit dem Luftkurort Gries – one of the oldest travel documentaries produced in Austria – we can enjoy wonderful views of the city of Bozen, continuing on to the small town of Gries, passing through the picturesque mountains of the area.

Exploring Bolzano and its surroundings

Travel documentaries represent one of the oldest film genres in Austria (and, more generally, in the whole world). But if, at the same time, the first Austrian film productions started later than in the rest of Europe, numerous production companies soon sprang up eager to convey to the world the beauty of Austria itself and of the lands of the Empire. Among these production companies, the most prestigious was undoubtedly Sascha-Film, which in its time produced both short documentaries and feature films. And, so, Bozen mit dem Luftkurort Gries, produced by Sascha-Film in 1913, stands today as one of Austria’s oldest and most precious travel documentaries.

Preserved today by the Filmarchiv Austria – which recently re-presented it to the audience on the occasion of the online retrospective Kino auf SommerfrischeBozen mit dem Luftkurort Gries did not, unfortunately, reach us in its entirety. If, in fact, the film originally had a total length of 115 metres, today only 109 metres have been preserved. The important thing, however, is undoubtedly that it can still be watched today, unlike most of the films made in the first years after the invention of cinema.

And so, while watching Bozen mit dem Luftkurort Gries, we can enjoy wonderful views of the city of Bozen, reaching the town of Gries, passing through the picturesque mountains of the area.

A documentary, this one, of rather short running time, but which, at the same time, succeeds perfectly in conveying the essence of the place depicted in all its facets. And, watching a film like Bozen mit dem Luftkurort Griestoday, we are certainly fascinated by it, as it witnesses an era in which cinema was (not too) slowly gaining a foothold throughout Austria, drawing heavily from what had been made in the rest of the world, but, at the same time, creating something totally new and personal.

A rather elementary – but essential – directorial approach is the absolute protagonist in Bozen mit dem Luftkurort Gries, in which sporadic captions explain what the camera is about to show us. And not infrequently it is the camera itself that is placed on a vehicle, in order to provide us with evocative tracking shots and pan shots of an area outside the national borders, but which also feels a strong influence from Austria itself.

And Sascha-Film knew very well what to focus on when attempting to enhance national cinema. It is no coincidence that today it is considered the longest-lived and most prolific production company from the origins of Austrian cinema.

Original title: Bozen mit dem Luftkurort Gries
Directed by: Various Authors
Country/year: Austria / 1913
Running time: 5’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Various Authors
Cinematography: Various Authors
Produced by: Sascha Film

Info: the website of the Filmarchiv Austria