© GM Films/barnsteiner-film

Dem Himmel Ganz Nah
Germany 2010

Opening 13 Oct 2011

Directed by: Titus Faschina
Writing credits:

This award-winning documentary dives into the traditional livelihood of a mountain sheep herder in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. On top of these mysterious and beautiful mountains lives Dumitru Stanciuhis, his wife and son, and together they are the last families working in a traditional way with the sheep in Europe. It is a lifestyle which is vanishing. The beauty of this film lies in its simplicity of depicting their way of handling the everyday work. Following the seasons the film shows what tools they need, how they milk and shear the sheep and also what they fear. Wolves, bears, ice, cold and fire are some of the things they face to keep the herd safe.

I was quite surprised to see that this film was not the only one with this title. It has to compete with another film with a similar title, Dem Himmel So Nah, and has the English title A Walk in the Clouds by Alfonso Arau staring Keanu Reeves but also two books with the same title; one by Sobo Swobodnik about the forests of Schwabisch Albs, and the other by Phil and Susan Eishler which covers climbing the Seven Summits together. I feel this film is extremely important since this way of life is disappearing and we need documentaries to remind us how we could live without consuming so much of our resources. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

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