The directions of the windrose  


A movie by Guido Wenzl
Germany 1994/95  60 min 16 mm  col.

THE DIRECTIONS OF THE WINDROSE shows how a film expedition is confronted with extremes that pushes them and the project to the limit: from 180 meters below sea level (CERN in Switzerland) to 5200 meter above sea level (in Tibet), the film traces the extensive filming surrounding TRANSATLANTIS. Filming which demanded the ultimate commitment from the team and the actors. It is an extraordinary filming of a vision, not only in regard to the artistic, but as well as the organisational implementation.
Christian Wagner's last film WALLERS LETZTER GANG (Wallers last trip) was very successful. His latest film, TRANSATLANTIS, tells the tale of a personal search for the lost continent of Atlantis and takes the main character, NEUFFER, to the highest peaks in the world: to the Himalayas, to the "roof of the world". The idea that Atlantis is not truly lost causes NEUFFER and with him the entire film crew to embark on an unusual journey. Its end is an insurmountable obstacle. This journey, with its difficulties and impediments, its fascination and beauty are documented in THE DIRECTIONS OF THE WINDROSE.
The documentary examines questions regarding the essence and purpose of such a complex undertaking in an original way. It follows the development of the idea, work with the actors, the elaborate production and extreme difficulties encountered during filming in the Alps, trekking in Nepal, and, finally, after having reached the "roof of the world" in Tibet. It includes observations of the efforts and struggles with the actual filming and extreme conditions involved with sending a film crew supported by sixty porters into the Himalayas. It presents the search for unusual images in deserted regions as a means of tracing the secrets of Atlantis and thus the reason for our existence.
In a homogeneous style, the documentary combines the different levels of observation during filming, statements from the participants, and quotes from the film excerpts to weave a creative flowing documentary narrative. In addition to the classic 16 mm film and Betacam formats, a small Hi8 camera was used under extreme con-ditions. This medium gives an air of authenticity to "being able to observe events unobserved" and generates a very intimate atmosphere. The documentary's suspense is created by the complex interweaving of background information, moods, and statements of the most important participants, the director and author, Christian Wagner (Wallers letzter Gang), the well-known Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski, the famous cameraman Thomas Mauch (Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo), Peter Przygodda (Chief editor for Wim Wenders) and many others.




Through a composition of visual and acoustic transitions, THE DIRECTIONS OF THE WINDROSE excites the viewer's curiosity through smooth documentary narrative with its accompanying pictures and interviews that are presented without comment. This curiosity goes beyond the feature format of a standard TV documen-tary. The fantastic pictures of the original locations attest to the documentary's optical independence. It is a film in its own right.