A fourth part, a new face, old strengths, new weaknesses, but still a lot of horse feeling – Windstorm 4: Ari’s Arrival (de. Ostwind – Aris Ankunft) opens a new chapter within the adventure saga. We’ll reveal how that turned out in our review.
The Plot Summary
An incident puts Mika (Hanna Binke) and her east wind to a tough test. Meanwhile, Mika’s grandmother (Cornelia Froboess), Sam (Marvin Linke) and Mr. Kaan (Tilo Prückner) try to keep Gut Kaltenbach running, with support from the ambitious and seemingly nice Isabell (Lili Epply). Then Fanny (Amber Bongard) brings the impulsive and prickly Ari (Luna Paiano) to Kaltenbach and causes a huge stir. Ari is immediately drawn to Ostwind and seems to have a special effect on the famous stallion. Is it possible that Ostwind and Mika will find another soul mate at Gut Kaltenbach? And will Ari manage to protect Ostwind from the unscrupulous horse trainer Thordur Thorvaldsen (Sabin Tambrea)?
Windstorm 4: Ari’s Arrival Movie explanation of the ending
Lea Schmidbauer’s horse novel series “Ostwind” has now totaled six books. “Aris Arrival” is the fifth volume, but only the fourth film within the screen adaptations. Whether the decision not to film the fourth novel “In Search of Tomorrow”, which is primarily about the foal Ora, who was welcomed at the end of part three, is due to the fact that “Aris Arrival” is completely different in terms of content We don’t know what happened behind the scenes from part three to four. But it is quite obvious. Ultimately, the new “Ostwind” film is about the previous main character Mika slowly saying goodbye to her role as the protagonist (here she almost only appears in flashbacks) and instead leaving this position to the titular Ari. In addition to the black stallion Ostwind, of course. There was also a kind of passing of the baton in the director’s chair. After Katja von Garnier directed three films, she now handed the scepter over to her colleague Theresa von Eltz (“4 Kings”). It captures the tone of the series very well with its debut and, above all, excellently captures the almost magical connection between man and horse (the “Ostwind” films have always had a bit of an esoteric feel) against the foreign body-like horse film blueprint of “Reiterhof in danger”, however, it cannot have any effect. This is simply a (now annoying) compulsory program.
Mika (Hanna Binke) knows that Ostwind only belongs to herself.
There was a reason why the genre was sold off on the home cinema market for quite some time before Katja von Garnier almost single-handedly triggered a certain renaissance in 2013. There was a lot of naivety in “Ostwind” (something these films consisted exclusively of for many years), but also pure horse magic, so that the all-too-predictable dramaturgy was only too easy to get over. Since then, the “Ostwind” films have never lost their strengths in staging. Even the second part, which is extremely constructed in terms of narrative, still has a downright intoxicating atmosphere; Katja von Garnier succeeds so brilliantly in the interplay between optics and acoustics. And the director also knows how to stage the noble four-legged friends so that by the end of the film, pretty much everyone wants to own a horse. “Ostwind – Aris Arrival” also has all of these technical advantages, but in terms of narrative, the fourth film is by far the weakest. This is not due to the basic idea of slowly saying goodbye to Mika from the films and instead focusing on the rebellious Ari; on the contrary. Lea Schmidbauer, who is also responsible for the script for the fourth time, quotes herself very sensitively, for example when in a scene Ostwind is lying under a tree and Ari is standing watching over him (in the first film it was the other way around), or when the unconventional Mr. Kaan’s riding training here is exactly the opposite of what Mika once did. Ari doesn’t just repeat what Mika has already done for three films, she is the exact opposite of her. A strong, narrative twist.
But no matter whether it’s “Wendy”, “Immenhof” or pretty much any other horse-girl film: the horse film segment doesn’t seem to work without a frightening antagonist. The relationship between Ari, Mika and Ostwind alone has enough emotional power to sustain the film for almost two hours. With the appearance of Sabin Tambrea (“The Iceman”) In the role of the self-proclaimed horse trainer Thordur Thorvaldsen, an all-too-familiar conflict develops: He is after Ostwind and, together with his accomplice Isabell, sets out to bring the Kaltenbach estate and with it the stallion under his wing. This subplot could not only be deleted without replacement without this having a negative impact on the film as a whole. Without him, “Ari’s Arrival” wouldn’t always fall into two parts. On the one hand we have the intensely told, sincere story of (self-)discovery of a young girl and her connection to horses and on the other hand the (also visually) striking battle between good and evil. Both narrative strands always only come together superficially – and in these scenes the believable, authentic adventure turns into an outrageous fairy tale. The training methods that the main villain Thordur Thorvaldsen uses wouldn’t even make any sense in an alternative reality and are solely aimed at making the finale as rowdy as possible.
Thordur Thorvaldsen (Sabin Tambrea) uses controversial methods to “cure” horses.
It’s always difficult to find the line between “exciting enough to keep viewers engaged” and “realistic enough not to completely alienate horse connoisseurs.” Here, Lea Schmidbauer has always found the absolutely justifiable middle ground by touching on the Mongolian world of legends, which once again serves as a theoretical explanation in “Aris Arrival”. It fits the mood when Tilo Prückner (“Little goat, stubborn goat”) alias Mr. Kaan shares his knowledge of the magical connection between humans and horses, which cameraman Florian Emmerich (“The Captain”) once again knows how to capture it very well. The images of galloping horses with flowing manes, mainly taken in slow motion, bring out the essence of the “fascination with horses”; Afterwards, no one will ask themselves what is so special about the animals. In addition, the main human characters also interact once again in an appropriately reverent manner. The newcomer Luna Palano not only scores points in her interaction with Ostwind, with whom she doesn’t seem to have any fear of contact, but generally impresses with her naturally cheeky nature. Speaking of cheeky: Of course there is also a reunion with Amber Bongard (“Groupies don’t stay for breakfast”) and Marvin Linke (“The boat”)who have developed since part one as a duo that complements each other perfectly and always has a saving idea (or a funny saying) at the right moment.
Conclusion: The third, once again beautifully staged sequel in the “Ostwind” saga is given the difficult task of slowly releasing the old heroine Mika from the series and establishing the rebellious Ari. That’s brilliantly achieved here, even if the subplot surrounding the evil horse trainer isn’t convincing at all. Not every film necessarily needs an antagonist!
“Windstorm 4: Ari’s Arrival” is available from the 28th. February can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide.