The 1931 Austrian film, Berge in Flammen, opens with the ringing of a church bell, signaling the beginning of the Great War. Upon hearing the bell’s toll, men immediately abandon their work and rush to the village center. Two men so enraptured by the bell suddenly leap up and abandon their horse mid shoeing. Men, still clad in their work aprons - one having dragged a calf along with him- begin to read the Kaiser’s “appeal to his people” posted upon the church wall. The enrapturing nature of the bell’s call even reached the film’s protagonist, Florian Dimai, high in the surrounding mountains where he works as a guide. He is accompanied by an Italian, who in a few short months would become his enemy. Upon descending from the mountains and reaching the town, Florian collected a rucksack packed by his wife. After delivering a heartfelt farewell to his wife and young child, he departed alongside the rest of the village’s men, hats laden with flowers, for the war. The tranquility of the Tyrolean village was irrevocably shattered by the spreading war.
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