A mummified Neolithic male whose corpse was discovered in a glacier 26 years ago will be the focus of a film giving a fictional account of his life.
Ötzi’s body was found by German couple Erika and Helmut Simon, who stumbled across the remains, complete with tools and clothing, in the Ötztal Alps of southern Tyrol, Italy.
Its skin covered in 60 tattoos and other organs were intact and the hikers initially believed the corpse to be new, until forensic scientists found it was the world’s oldest known human mummy at about 5,300 years old.
Nicknamed after the Alpine valley in which he was found, the Stone Age hunter became the subject of stomach content analysis as thousands of specialists clambered to determine his cause of death.
The investigation found he was felled by an arrow that pierced his left shoulder, leading him to fall, hit his head on a stone and bleed to death.
Now the corpse draws about a quarter of a million visitors annually to the northern Italian mountain town of Bolzano, where he is displayed in a specially designed cold chamber.
His popularity over the past two decades means the museum, which can only house 300 people, is soon moving to a new site to accommodate visitor demand.
Breakthroughs establishing facts about how Ötzi lived have allowed German filmmaker Felix Randau to create a feature film about his struggle for survival.
Der Mann aus dem Eis (Iceman) is out this month and was shot in the rugged mountains of Bavaria, South Tyrol and Carinthia in Austria.
Randau says his film questions whether humans have progressed in the millennia leading to the present day and his biopic speculates as to why Ötzi was killed after archaeologists and scientists have failed to offer a concrete conclusion.
‘The figure of Ötzi, with his mythical grandeur, allowed us to look into the past to see what it tells us about the present,’ he said.
‘It raises the question as to whether humans have really changed at all and developed over 5,000 years.’
Jürgen Vogel plays Ötzi, who is called Kelab in the film, speaking an early version of the Rhaetic tongue.
Kelab is depicted as a hunter living with goats and pigs, wearing animal furs for warmth and trekking through the treacherous, snowy landscape in an attempt to shield himself and his family from human enemies and the elements.