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Der Mann aus dem Eis (Iceman) debuted in German cinemas last month and will be released in the rest of Europe and North America next spring. Directed by Berlin-based filmmaker Felix Randau, the $4 million film is a fictional account of Ötzi’s life, all in an invented language with no subtitles. Randau was advised by scientists at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy, where Ötzi’s body is on display.
Q: What language is Ötzi speaking in the movie?
A: To me it always sounds ridiculous when in a movie about ancient Rome, people speak BBC English. So I contacted a linguist who reconstructed the language that could have been spoken in south Tyrol 5000 years ago. He took Rhaetic [a language spoken in the eastern Alps in pre-Roman and Roman times] and reconstructed it back to some ancient form. It’s not a real language and there are no subtitles in the movie, but you don’t have to understand the language because there isn’t much talking.