The Magic Mountain
as part of Cinema of Crises film review
The Magic Mountain, directed by Eitan Efrat, Daniel Mann, Belgium 2020, 68’
- A (loose) documentary adaptation of The Magic Mountain, in which Tomas Mann’s famous novel is interpreted through the subject of the Anthropocene. The filmmakers are interested in the mountain (literally) and its interior, rather than the peak. By focusing on underground locations – quarries, tunnels and caves – they investigate man's insatiable desire to extract natural resources from the earth. In three chapters they examine the healing properties of radon gas found in Austria, the powerful energy of stones in Switzerland, and pearls created by sweat and blood found in Polish caves. Together, these chapters form the geological and cultural history of our (often bodily) relationship with the Earth’s subsoil, enabling different ways of knowing and experiencing the world. The viewer, like Castorp, is placed in a different reality and invited to go "to the mountains to be healed”.