International Competition

Shepherds’ Journey into the Third Millennium

Hirtenreise ins dritte Jahrtausend

- SWITZERLAND / 2002 / Swiss-German, German / Color / 35mm (1:1.66) / 124 min

Director, Photography, Editing, Producer: Erich Langjahr
Sound: Silvia Haselbeck
Music: Hans Kennel
Production Company, World Sales: Langjahr Film GmbH
Luzernerstrasse 16, CH-6037 Root SWITZERLAND
Phone: 41-41-450-22-52 Fax: 41-41-450-22-51
E-mail: info@langjahr-film.ch URL: www.langjahr-film.ch

A look at the daily lives of a family of shepherds in Switzerland, set against a mountainous backdrop. A flock of several hundred sheep wanders through snow in search of fresh pastures, crossing roads and negotiating traffic. Lambs are born under the gaze of the shepherd’s wife and children, who spend day after day milking by hand and making bread. Shepherding is said to be one of the oldest professions in the world, and we are shown its harsh and hard-working lifestyle with a steady gaze.

[Director’s Statement] Following Alpine Ballad and Peasants’ War, Shepherds’ Journey into the Third Millennium is the third film of a trilogy in which I deal with the fundamental issues of human beings and their existence. The main themes are the issues of identity, survival, and the future.

One of the oldest cultural forms of human existence is that of the shepherd. In its essence it is of economic interest even today, and also embodies a distinct lifestyle and worldview. I wanted to get to know the life of today’s shepherds on the threshold of the third millennium. In a time of upheaval and changes in values between tradition and the future, the film is also an expression of my own inner conflict.

I tell the story of modern shepherds, based on transhumance, that transfer of herds between the seasons in search of greener pastures. The shepherds in the film take on a life of privation and face challenges that often reach the limits of their capacities. They do not come from an agricultural background, but have chosen this life themselves out of a need for the freedom to do something meaningful.

- Erich Langjahr

Born in 1944 in Zug, Switzerland. Started independent filmmaking in 1971. Ex Voto (1986) was awarded the Premier Prix du Jury at the Nyon International Film Festival, the Special International Jury Prize at the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, and the Best European Film Award at Rimini. Men in the Ring (1990) won an International Jury award at Leipzig, in addition to the Grand Prize for documentary film at the Strasbourg Film Festival of Human Rights. Alpine Ballad (1996) and Peasants’ War (1998) were awarded the special prize from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment. Alpine Ballad was shown in the YIDFF ’97 International Competition and Peasants’ War won the Ecumenical Jury prize at Leipzig. Shepherds’ Journey into the Third Millennium was honored three times at Leipzig in 2002, with the Golden Dove, the Ecumenical Jury prize and the Don Quixote prize from the FICC Jury. In 2003 it won the Swiss Film Prize for Best Documentary.

• International Competition | Basal Banar—Sacred Ritual of Truth | Flashback | Fuente Álamo—The Caress of Time | Gift of Life | Hunting Down an Angel or Four Passions of the Soothsayer Poet | IAG BARI—Brass on Fire | On Hitler’s Highway | Oui Non | Purity | Raymundo | S21, the Khmer Rouge Killing Machine | Shepherds’ Journey into the Third Millennium | Stevie | Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks | The Way to the West • Jurors | Alain Bergala | Christine Choy | Amir Naderi | Anand Patwardhan | Takamine Go