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The Death of Empedocles, or When the Green of the Earth Will Glisten for You Anew

(Der Tod des Empedokles; oder: wenn dann der Erde Grün von neuem euch erglänzt)

featuring

Andreas von Rauch, Vladimir Baratta, Martina Baratta, Ute Cremer,

Straub-Huillet staged their adaptation of German lyric poet Hölderlin’s drama along the mountainside of Sicily’s Mt. Etna, a spectacular natural backdrop as fascinating (and as foregrounded) as the text itself. Prophesizing a utopian vision of a new earth, the Greek philosopher Empedocles finds himself both a hero of the people and an enemy of the state. Here words and language battle against the elements themselves, “three elements in the film are in virtually constant motion: Hölderlin's text, the actors' gestures, and nature,” writes Jonathan Rosenbaum. “And the juxtaposition of these movements with static camera setups is essential to the film's music and rhythm.”

Jason Sanders
FILM DETAILS 
Screenwriter
  • Jean-Marie Straub
  • Danièle Huillet
Based On
  • the first version of The Death of Empedocles by Friedrich Hölderlin

Cinematographer
  • Renato Berta
  • Giovanni Canfarelli
  • Jean-Paul Toraille
Language
  • German
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • 132 mins