On 1 June 2009 a passenger plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. My cousin Georg, returning from Brazil, was among the 228 dead. He grew up as an adopted child in a small Italian village in the midst of the Dolomites; he had travelled to the city of Salvador da Bahia on the coast of Brazil in search of his biological mother. Seven years later his adoptive brother, Markus, crosses the ocean to follow Georg’s footprints into his own past.
60th DOK Leipzig (Nomination Goethe-Institut Prize)
LEADING TO OURSELVES
With his film “The Fifth Point of the Compass”, Martin Prinoth goes in search of his own roots while at the same time leading us into the world outside. In an impressive, very intimate fashion we take part as spectators in a cinematic expedition, at the centre of which fate stands and becomes almost microscopically visible. Why do we live where we live? Into which life are we born and where does it lead us? Which circumstances guide us into a life that then becomes ours? These are questions that the film also asks of us as viewers. Once we begin to follow these trails, the mysterious, the incomprehensible becomes ever clearer. We try to search out a mosaic that might perhaps make sense in order however to understand ever more clearly on our way there that we will probably only obtain a vague idea of it.
The filmmaker offers his protagonist this film as a medium and a means of transport to delve into his own life story. We experience the emotional process between the two men and hope along with them that the hidden may be revealed, just as the mountains at the beginning the film emerge from the clouds to reveal the setting. The film’s two languages, Ladin and Brazilian Portuguese, could hardly be geographically further apart: the one spoken in the enclave formed by a South Tyrolean mountain valley, the other on the coast of a distant continent. And yet I can feel how close together they are and interweave with one another through the biographies of two children. The emotional strength of Martin Prinoth’s film lies in its obstinate search to get to the origins of the story and find an answer to numerous questions. The Fifth Point of the Compass leads to ourselves.