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VON STEEG ÜBER GOASAUSCHMIED ZUM GOSAUSEE UND AUF DEN DACHSTEIN

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by Karl Köfinger

grade: 7.5

The tourist documentary Von Steeg über Goasauschmied zum Gosausee und auf den Dachstein stands as almost an outstanding work within Karl Köfinger’s filmography. While, in his previous documentaries, the director had mainly focused on the routes and places visited, here much more emphasis is placed on the people.

On the Hoher Dachstein peaks

It is a beautiful summer day. What better occasion to escape the heat than to take a nice hike in the mountains? And indeed, a group of tourists is ready to set off aboard a postal vehicle. Destination: the peaks of the Hoher Dachstein. And yet, before reaching their destination, there are numerous stops to be made. Exciting, isn’t it? Well, that’s what happens in the documentary Von Steeg über Goasauschmied zum Gosausee und auf den Dachstein, made by film director and producer Karl Köfinger in 1929 and part of a series of documentaries made for the Austrian Post Office.

This Von Steeg über Goasauschmied zum Gosausee und auf den Dachstein – recently re-released to the audience by the Filmarchiv Austria on the occasion of the online retrospective Kino auf Sommerfrische – just over six minutes long, stands almost as an exceptional work within Köfinger’s vast filmography. While in his previous documentaries, the director had mainly focused on the routes travelled each time on board postal vehicles (with a camera placed on them), in Von Steeg über Goasauschmied zum Gosausee und auf den Dachstein much more emphasis is placed on the people encountered each time.

And so, the image of a peasant woman, sitting outside her house and intent on making butter, gives the whole work a special significance. Halfway up, they reach the Adamek Hütte (with an altitude of 2,165 metres). The next stop is the peak of the Hoher Dachstein. Before continuing, however, they need to rest. And so our group of hikers heads for a mountain hut.

In the second part of this short Von Steeg über Goasauschmied zum Gosausee und auf den Dachstein, however, everything changes. Now it is no longer the tourists or the routes taken by postal vehicles that are in the foreground. Now it is the imposing snowy peaks that are the real stars. And to them, Köfinger has dedicated breathtaking panoramic shots, in order to make the most of their majesty, in front of which we all feel so small.

Great directorial care and a careful look at even the smallest details are the hallmarks of this Von Steeg über Goasauschmied zum Gosausee und auf den Dachstein. But Karl Köfinger, as we know, left nothing to chance. For this reason – as well as for the undoubted fascination of a period perfectly straddling the silent and sound era – this work, even today, continues to exert such a strong impact on viewers. It bears witness to a historical period between the two wars, when one could still breathe a glimmer of freedom within the most unspoilt nature.

Original title: Von Steeg über Goasauschmied zum Gosausee und auf den Dachstein
Directed by: Karl Köfinger
Country/year: Austria / 1929
Running time: 6’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Karl Köfinger
Cinematography: Karl Köfinger
Produced by: Ing. Köfinger-Film

Info: the website of the Filmarchiv Austria