Friday, 16. June 2023, 16:00-18:00
The second day of the seminary “Alpinism worldwide – Mountains and Society” we will start with a talk by Bernhard Viel “From the Bible to the Screen. A short history of European Alpinism and the Genre of “Bergfilm””. At the evening Joyce Azzam will speak about the Lebanese perspective of Alpinism “The Transformative Power of Lebanese Mountains: A Strategy for Rural Tourism Development and Youth Empowerment in Lebanon”.
“From the Bible to the Screen. A short history of European Alpinism and the Genre of “Bergfilm””
In the beginning, the Bible tells us that on the third day, according to the Book of Genesis, the Lord created the land and the sea. This marked the genesis of European alpinism, as demonstrated by Bernhard Viel in his panoramic view of alpine history. During this time, there was an effort to reconcile the natural history explanation for the formation of the Alps, which had been established since the 18th century, with the creation report. In the 19th century, scientific interest prevailed, and the gods were banished. Climbing mountains, once feared, became fashionable to gain insights into the Earth's history and to be enchanted by the newfound beauty of the mountain landscapes. However, this fascination soon gave rise to a heroic and national ethos, with men and women driven by the ambition to demonstrate courage, manliness, and the ability to rise to challenges.
After World War I, the mountains were conquered by the film industry, transforming them into playgrounds for restless urban recreational enthusiasts. The demystification of the alpine landscapes coincided with their romantic portrayal in the new mass medium. Bernhard Viel illustrates this transformation through the example of Luis Trenker, a South Tyrolean mountaineer born in 1892, who contributed to the international acclaim of the revolutionary ‘mountain film’ genre with movies like ‘Berge in Flammen’ (1932) [English title: ‘The Doomed Battalion’]. This genre has since influenced the aesthetics of war, adventure, and sports films.
‘The Transformative Power of Lebanese Mountains: A Strategy for Rural Tourism Development and Youth Empowerment in Lebanon’
This study proposes the utilization of mountaineering and hiking activities in Lebanon as a catalyst for promoting rural and environmental tourism while also fostering a sense of citizenship among the youth. By leveraging the popularity of mountaineering and nature-based recreation, this approach seeks to revive tourism in rural areas while concurrently nurturing a stronger connection between the younger generation and their communities. Through the physical and mental challenges that mountaineering presents, participants are able to transcend their limitations and tap into their inner strength, building confidence and resilience that can be applied to all areas of their lives. This transformative power of mountaineering can inspire individuals to embrace new perspectives, cultivate a greater appreciation for nature, and develop a sense of interconnectedness with the world around them. Ultimately, it is hoped that this approach will not only promote tourism and civic engagement but also contribute to the holistic development of the individuals involved.
Bernhard Viel, born in Munich in 1958, is a PhD in German studies and history. His books and essays are dedicated to prominent figures in the intellectual life of the 19th and 20th centuries. He resides as a freelance author in Berlin and Munich.
Joyce Azzam was born on June 24, 1984. She holds the record of being the only Lebanese woman to complete the Seven Summits Challenge. Azzam earned a PhD in landscape & environment management from La Sapienza University of Rome. She has been designated as Goodwill Ambassador for Himalayan Life International.