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|Laufzeit:||Ca. 110 min.|
With a length of 3,312 meters and a maximum gradient of 85 % at the infamous Mausefalle, the Streif, the ski race track at Hahnenkamm in Kitzbühel, is one of the greatest challenges for ski racers from all over the world. And for the public the Hahnenkamprennen, held here since 1937, is the highlight of every ski season. Nowhere else are triumph and envy, joy and pain, joy and tragedy so close together as on this route. For the local audience, the Hahnenkam race is a big party, for the racers it is the ultimate adrenaline rush. Again and again there are light, but unfortunately also very serious accidents that have abruptly ended great careers. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the race, "Streif - One Hell of a Ride", a visually impressive film, which observes the preparations of some athletes and organisers for the Hahnenkam race over a period of one year, is now being released in cinemas.
Director Gerald Salmina ("Mount St. Elias") not only offers a highly interesting look behind the scenes of the race and into the sometimes very unusual training methods of racing drivers like Aksel Lund Svindal, Max Franz or Erik Guay. The film also fascinates with some breathtaking downhill scenes, great aerial photos and thrilling slow-motion shots. In some moments you get so carried away as a viewer, that you feel the pain of those affected, especially during the falls. And so it is no wonder that a montage of accidents is one of the most intense moments of the documentary.
The film also lives from the strong contrast between the insights into training and life of the successful professionals and the much worse conditions under which young athletes like the Belarusian Yuri Danilochkin have to prepare for the race and then face their perfectly equipped competitors. Thus the documentation also takes a not entirely uncritical look at the mechanisms of professional sport, in which equal opportunities are not necessarily guaranteed and success can depend on the right sponsoring.
However, "Streif - One Hell of a Ride" lives first and foremost from its pictures. Here you will also be captivated and entertained from the first to the last second as a non-racing fan and not necessarily an enthusiastic ski fan. Only in the decisive sequence in the last act does Salima make a mistake that significantly diminishes the intensity of his pictures. In order to show what precision work a descent on the Streif is, he contrasts images of the 2014 race with those of an impressive balance artist. For several minutes he interrupts the spectacular downhill shots again and again and cuts to the artist who balances with numerous sticks. As the viewer quickly gets to know what the director wants to tell us with the comparison, this constant re-cutting is slowing us down and really annoying. This destroys the great climax that the film is working towards for over 100 minutes.
Beyond that "Streif - One Hell of a Ride" is a gripping, great and also extremely interesting documentary, which is the perfect program to accompany the anniversary of the Hahnenkam race. But then there is - with minimal reductions - also a very clear one: Absolutely worth seeing!
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