Ultima Thule -
   A Journey to the Edge of the World

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Once upon a time I dreamt I was a butterfly,
A happily fluttering butterfly,
who knew nothing about my existence.
Suddenly I awoke and was myself again.

Now I am not sure: was it me
Who dreamt I was a butterfly?
Or am I in reality a butterfly,
Who is dreaming that it is me?

Surely there must be a difference between
me and a butterfly!

Zhuang Zhou, Chinese philosopher

When the successful stockbroker Alfred Böhler sets out for work he has no idea what a dramatic turn his life will be taking.  He is involved in a serious accident. An eagle flutters up and settles on a branch in a nearby tree. Its eyes big, of unfathomable depth. It looks down onto the site of the accident. Fred sees himself, streaming with blood, strangely contorted.

Rescue teams arrive, give him first aid. They take him to the intensive care station, where the doctors and nurses fight to save his life. Anita, his wife, approaches his bed.

During this time he - or is it the eagle - takes an interior journey through the world. He experiences it in an intensity he has never known before. Everything is imbued with life, even the seemingly dead world of the stones. With the eagle, he flies over the endless chains of mountains and ice fields in Wrangell-St. EliasNational Park in Alaska. Soaring over peaks and glaciers, he arrives in warmer realms, where he discovers the power of life. As he encounters with the primeval landscapes of Alaska, he remembers his earlier ambitions of becoming a natural scientist. He perceives how plants have conquered the terminal moraines, transposing them into gardens. He enters into the microcosm of a drop of water, where the tiniest living creatures, like those that contributed to forming the earth itself, fill him with joy. On and on, he strides along the path of evolution, where he encounters incredibly beautiful flowers, the comical squirrel, but also the

mighty elk and buffalo. Does he even want to go back?

Meanwhile, in the intensive care station, his body lies motionless. Machines sustain his vital bodily functions. Detached, he receives the intensive care given by the doctors and nurses. Nor does he seem to be aware of Anita's concern. No one knows whether or not he will survive. No one knows where he is. No one can imagine what a fantastic journey his spirit is making during this time. The power of life and love wins over death - this time - and leads him back into our world, where his wife  Anita welcomes him.

This film carries us away into the Alaska of our souls.
Franz Hohler, Writer

So it is life itself that brings Fred Böhler to the point of truly embracing life.
Christoph Egger in the NEUEN ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG

The sensuous "experience-ability" of Nature is the real theme of Ultima Thule.
Gerhart Waeger in the FILMBULLETIN

...Nature becomes pure poetry!
Ultima Thule is a bold trip to an Atlas of longing and nostalgia. It takes courage, in an age of stress and noise, to celebrate exactly the opposite with romantic transfiguration: serenity carries us into a fantastically enchanted world.
Wolfram Knorr in DIE WELTWOCHE

Fred Böhler's soul sets off on a journey to the edge of the world, to the borders of life, where he discovers an existence in which knowledge must submit to mystery.
Fred Zaugg in DER BUND

Cast, collaboraters and technical informations
Press Review
Press Book (PDF)
Map of the Wrangell-St.Elias National Park
Still Photos
Filming in Switzerland
Filming in Alaksa