Universum Alpin Pastures
Fascination of a Landscape
A hot plate of Riebel, three times the Lord's Prayer and the hope that the weather will hold. And then off for the
adventure: herding the cattle to their mountain pastures in the Lech Valley. On this day, 500 bovines are driven from Zürs across the Wösterjoch, a pass at a height of 2500 metres, into the Tyrolean Lech valley where the farmers from Vorarlberg still have grazing rights. The precipitous backdrop of the Lech Alps makes their wandering a dramatic spectacle.
The alpine grazing pastures, known as "Almen" in the country, are a crucial piece of Austrian identity. They cover about 20 percent of our country. Pasturing has shaped the Alps for centuries, creating a landscape of unique beauty and a culture steeped in tradition that is appreciated not just by tourists. It was not always so: in the 1970s, many cattle pastures were abandoned due to the enormous labour input required. It took a new fashion of ecological thinking and targeted farm subsidies to stop their drastic decline.
Today organic farming and a new self-awareness among dairymen and maids have turned Austrian alpine pastures into an incomparable living space and culture place right in the heart of Europe.
This documentary wants to express the renewed appreciation of alpine pastures. It is a homage to the beauty of this unrenounceable treasure and the people living in it. It will be a story of three pastures from different regions, showing the history of dairy farming on the pasture, the techniques used to make cheese, the architecture of the mountain cabins and the archaic world of Alm folklore. Particular emphasis is given to the splendid landscape that is home to this richly diverse culture.
Director and Script: Maria Magdalena Koller
Photography: Josef Neuper
Editor: Tanja Lesowsky
Producer: Heinrich Mayer-Moroni
Executive Producer: Rudolf Klingohr
Television Premiere: 18.05.2006