Riafn (2019)

  • Documentary
  • 23min

Is Riafn an Alpine documentary, a musical, a yodel opera or a radio play? This film, one of the most unusual and astonishing submissions in our festival history, is all of them. Riafn is dialect for ‘rufen’, the German for to call or yell. Using a camera and microphone, the Cologne-based Italian director Hannes Lang followed Alpine dwellers who still practise this well-nigh defunct form of communication which dates back to the time when mobile phones didn’t exist. These mountain dwellers have a personal call which can carry over huge distances through the mountains and valleys. Taking into account, the wind, the valley walls and the height differences, these farmers and shepherds are able to pass on their message to intended recipients hundred of metres away. The recordings were made over a period of two years. Instead of a true-to-life registration of this ancient tradition, Lang has cut and edited the sound and image in a specific rhythm and so create his own artistic product. Whilst watching Riafn can be a surrealistic experience, viewers are confronted with questions about progression versus regression and the power of language, sound and physique in a time that computers did not yet exist.


Hannes Lang