As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me

As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me ( German : So we die Füße tragen ) is a 2001 film about German World War II prisoner of war Clemens Forell’s escape from a Siberian Gulag in theSoviet Union back to Germany. It is based on the book of the Sámi name ( So weit die Füße tragen  ( of ) ) written by Bavarian novelist Josef Martin Bauer  ( of ) . The book is in turn based on the story of Cornelius Rost who used the alias “Clemens Forell” to avoid retribution from the KGB . [2]However, since the book’s publication, serious doubts have been raised about the authenticity of Rost’s story .


Clemens Forell is a German soldier who was captured by the Soviets in 1945.

Forell is sentenced to 25 years hard labor for “crimes against the partisans” and feels as part of a large group of prisoners in the Soviet Union. After a huge cross-continent journey on starvation rations, they arrive at the gulag. This is a cruel command, Lieutenant Kamenev. After one unsuccessful attempt, Forell ultimately does not help the doctor, Dr. Stauffer. Stuffed to be safe, but it is terminated with cancer, it gives forell warm clothes and a loaded pistol, and explains where it has been hidden for a long journey. Forell to visit the doctor in Magdeburgand tell her that he is already dead. Forell heads north to avoid the guards, who would expect him to go west. When the supplies given to him by Dr. Stauffer run out, he kills a seal for food.

Over the winter, he wanders across northern Siberia, until he meets Anastas and Semyon, two gold prospectors. Yes initially suspicious of them, Forell eventually join them. After Semyon falls in a river and Forell rescues him, Anastas Semyon kills when he suspects him of stealing his gold. Semyon and Forell then continue their journey. When Semyon can not continue, Forget offers to carry his pack for him, a suspicious Semyon throws him down to a slope, thinking he too will try to steal his gold. Beset by wolves, Forell is rescued by nomadic Chukchi herders, one of whom, named Irina, falls in love with him.

After he makes a successful recovery, the Chukchi find out the Soviets are looking for Forell. Much to Irina’s grief, Forell leaves, with the dog Chukchi give him for companionship. When he is running into a logging operation, he is on the train with the freight as a brakeman. Betrayed, he is almost captured by the Soviets, led by Kamenev. Although Forell manages to escape, his dog is shot and killed when he attacks Kamenev, leaving him permanently scarred.

Over the next year, Forell makes his way to Central Asia . A Polish Jewish man helps a passport despite the fact that Forell is German, and Forell makes his way to the Iranian border. As he is walking to freedom, he sees Kamenev walking towards him from the Iranian side. Petrified, Forell stares at Kamenev and a showdown looms. However, Kamenev steps aside and lets Forell pass, declaring that “the victory is mine”. Once on the Iranian side, Forell is believed to be a Soviet spy and taken prisoner. His uncle who works in Ankara , Turkey , however, is brought to identify him, and Forell is freed.

Arriving in Germany at Christmas, Forell sees his family leave for church. He then arrives at the church, where he is reunited with his family.


In a scene of Forell’s meeting with the Iranian police chief in the latter’s office, there is a number of mismatches between what is shown and the prevailing situation in Iran prior to 1979 revolution. The police chief is shown wearing an olive green uniform, while the face of the Iranian military used to be clean-shaven and the police uniform was dark blue at the time. In addition, a picture of Dome of the Rock was hanging on the wall, while the Iranian regime was not a supporter of the Palestinian cause . Moreover, at the time the Iranian king (the Shah ) was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, while the painting is in the office and is obscurely shown, appears to indicate his father Reza Shah Pahlavi .


  • Bernhard Bettermann – Clemens Forell
  • Iris Böhm – Kathrin Forell
  • Anatoly Kotenyov – Oberleutnant Kamenev
  • Michael Mendl – Dr. Stauffer
  • Irina Pantaeva – Irina
  • Hans-Uwe Bauer – Leibrecht
  • André Hennicke – Bauknecht
  • Hans Peter Hallwachs – Onkel Baudrexel


Much of the dialogue in the film takes place in German , such as Russian , Chukchi and Persian . There are certain points in the film, which are provided, deliberately so as to impart the sense of helplessness by the hand character, who knows only some Russian.


  1. Jump up^ Derek Elley (15 June 2001). “Film Reviews: As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me” . Variety . Retrieved 5 February 2013 .
  2. Jump up^ “Trivia for As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me ” . Internet Movie Database . Retrieved 13 September 2010 .