Mountain Miracle [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Germany - Lighthouse
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (29th July 2018).
The Film

"Mountain Miracle" AKA "Amelie rennt" (2017)

Amelie (played by Mia Kasalo) is a young teen suffering from asthma. With her latest asthma attack, she nearly dies as she refused to take her medication, leading her to the emergency room. She has had enough of her illness, angry about her parents' divorce and was willing to end it all. Parents Sarah (played by Susanne Bormann) and Lukas (played by Denis Moschitto) decide together that it is best if Amelie could get better treatment to deal with her Asthma, and take her to a lung clinic for kids located in a rural area surrounded by nature - mountains, rivers, and fields for fresh air. But Amelie doesn't care. She would rather play games on her phone or not talk to anyone rather than do group exercises that the staff recommends. Her roommate Steffi (played by Shenia Pitschmann) annoys her to pieces, the local boy Bart (played by Samuel Girardi) who runs the stable with his father also gets on her nerves every time they see each other. As much as the doctors and nurses try to help Amelie she refuses to connect. She decides to escape from the clinic by climbing the mountain herself, with just her backpack and her trusty inhaler, causing the clinic to go in panic as they realize they have lost one of their patients. As she climbs the mountain underprepared, she encounters the most unlikely adversary willing to help her on her journey to the top - Bart.

"Mountain Miracle" is almost like a John Green story come to the German screen. Like "The Fault in Our Stars" it deals with a teen girl that is suffering from an illness. Like "Paper Towns" it deals with a girl who decides to run away. Like those books and films, in "Mountain Miracle" the way the teens are depicted are honest in their troubles as well as their awkwardness to each other and toward adults. Dialogue is both cute and truthful with an equal amount of laughs as well as brutally honest filled with cursing and tears. Amelie is a young teen that contemplates death, and her emotional detachment is difficult yet understandable seeing the world through her eyes. But this is a story not about depression and physical illness, but it is about overcoming fears, physical condition, and finding love and a reason to live, and like the aforementioned John Green stories, this film is an absolute feel good movie that surprises and warms the heart for teens as well as adults, and possibly more so for the older crowds.

Internationally speaking, the most well known names and titles in German cinema have been on the serious side or works of experimental technique. But Germany does have a healthy dose of comedy films, romance films, and films for the youth. "Mountain Miracle" does not fall into the category of the frequently exported films as the international appeal is a bit limited. The target demographic of youth may appeal to German speaking audiences, but for most non-German speaking teens may not be interested in a subtitled film. Adults who are used to subtitled films may be looking at art house subjects rather than feel good youth dramas in another language. "Mountain Miracle" is not a film that is particularly "German". Nothing in the story stands out as something that is particularly German and has an internationally relatable subject matter, making it an interestingly hard sell and easy sell to foreign markets at the same time.

As excellent as "Mountain Miracle" is, it is imperfect. The relationship of Amelie with her divorced parents never seem to have a strong effect. There really was no need for the parents to be divorced as it doesn't hinder the narrative at all. Besides Steffi, there is no other examples of other patients trying to connect with Amelie, and almost seems too sudden that she would take off into the wilderness alone. The scenes of Amelie and Bart slowly starting to open up to each other has a few cringy moments in dialogue exchange, but then again teenage boys and girls suddenly opening up to each other emotionally are destined to have cringy moments, possibly even cringier than what appears in the film. Flaws and all, "Mountain Miracle" is a truthful and heartwarming experience for all audiences of all ages, and deserves to be see by wider audiences worldwide.

The film was showcased at various film festivals worldwide, including the Berlin International Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival and more, and raked up a few international awards. It won the Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, the NDR Young Talents Award at the Emden International Film Festival, the Bella Brussela Award at the Filem'on: International Children's Film Festival, the Award of the Thuringian State Chancellery at the German Children's-Film & TV-Festival, the Film Award in Gold at the German Film Awards, and many more.

Note this is a region ALL Blu-ray

Video

Farbfilm Home Entertainment/Lighthouse Home Entertainment presents the film in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio in 1080p in the MPEG-2 codec. Shot in HD the film looks very good with its reproduction of bright colors including the natural colors of the mountains and forests, with greens, blues, and browns looking vibrant. Skin tones are a little on the bright side, but overall it is a very bright toned film to begin with. Detail is fair and there are no major issues with the overall transfer. 18GB of the single layer 25GB disc is for the film and that is a fair amount considering the 97 minute runtime, with the rest relegated for the bonus features. Overall a very good transfer, even considering the MPEG-2 codec used.

The film's runtime is exactly 97:00.

Audio

German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
German Audio Descriptive DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo

The lossless 5.1 track is an excellent one, with dialogue being centered while the surrounding channels relegated to effects and music. During scenes such as the thunderstorm and the incident in the river the effects are extremely powerful with the thunder and heavy rain and the rushing river water respectively. The score and songs by Tobias Kuhn are excellent, with electro pop songs and melodies reminiscent of M83, Imagine Dragons or Mew with English vocals by Martin Kelly. Overall an excellent track with little to fault at all. There is also an audio description track in German 2.0 stereo.

There are optional English, German HoH, Italian subtitles for the main feature in a white font. The subtitles are well timed and easy to read with no grammar or spelling issues.

Extras

"Behind the Scenes" featurette (3:50)
A series of outtakes from the cast and crew
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.90:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"Alpine Fire" featurette (2:40)
A short featurette on setting up the bonfire on the mountain as seen near the end of the film.
in 1080i 50hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"Amelie" featurette (3:08)
The cast and crew talk about the main character of Amelie and her journey in this featurette.
in 1080i 50hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"Bart" featurette (3:02)
Another character featurette with interviews from the cast and crew, this time focusing on Bart’s.
in 1080i 50hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"Nelly" featurette (3:14)
Nelly the cow with the injured leg gets her own featurette here.
in 1080i 50hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"Stunt in the Water" featurette (3:30)
Actors Mia Kasalo, Samuel Girardi, the stunt actors, and the stunt coordinators discuss the dangerous falling-in-the-river scene done on location.
in 1080i 50hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"Shelter" featurette (3:36)
A short featurette on the scene of the characters building a small shelter from the storm.
in 1080i 50hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"Backstage" featurette (3:12)
The featurette has short interview clips with the various cast and crew with the basic overview, some behind the scenes clips, and a few outtakes.
in 1080i 50hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

Bonus Trailers

"Storm – Letter of Fire" (1:38)
"Storm: Letters van Vuur" is the original German title.
in 1080i 50hz AVC MPEG-4, in 2.40:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles

"Nelly's Adventure" (2:02)
"Nellys Abenteuer" is the original German title.
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 2.40:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with no subtitles

"Morris from America" (1:37)
An America-German co-production, "Morris aus Amerika" is the German title featured in the trailer.
in 1080i 50hz AVC MPEG-4, in 2.40:1, in English/German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with no subtitles

"Clara and the Secret of the Bears" (1:56)
"Clara und das Geheimnis der Bären" is the original German title.
in 1080i 50hz AVC MPEG-4, in 2.40:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with no subtitles

"Alive and Ticking" (1:59)
"Ein Tick anders" is the original German title.
in 1080i 50hz AVC MPEG-4, in 2.40:1, in German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with no subtitles


The eight short promo featurettes are fair but nothing in depth about the pre-production with no notes from the script process, or much with the post production with editing and music. No commentary or in depth interviews are offered either.

Packaging

The cover art is reversible, with the only difference being the large FSK-6 logo being absent from the opposite side.
Also, the case mistakenly states region B only when the disc is actually region ALL.

Overall

"Mountain Miracle" is absolutely one of the most feel-good films of 2017 and likely to have skipped over most people's heads as youth-oriented films from Germany do not have a large market share or awareness. A great film about life, overcoming fear, and finding yourself in the unlikeliest place, it deserves a larger audience. The Farbfilm/Lighthouse Blu-ray has a great transfer with audio and video, though note the extras are not English friendly. Still comes as recommended.

The Film: B+ Video: A- Audio: A Extras: C Overall: B

 


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