The Cold Heart

(Das kalte Herz)

US Premiere!

In Conversation

  • Ann Schnabel Mottier (daughter of Karl Ulrich Schnabel) and her husband François Mottier help manage the musical legacy of the Schnabel family musicians.

  • Sarah Cahill

    Sarah Cahill, “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” (New York Times), has commissioned and premiered more than sixty compositions for solo piano.


Franz Schnyder, Stefan Schnabel, Wolf-Wolfgang Guth, Elfriede Gärtner,

Filmed in 1931–33 by the young piano teacher Karl Ulrich Schnabel, The Cold Heart is a curiosity, a long-unfinished film that remained hidden for years until the reels were found and restored by Raff Fluri. In this morality tale set largely in the forests and villages around Berlin, our protagonist, Peter Munk (played by young Swiss actor Franz Schnyder), encounters challenges that test his soul along his magical journey. A creative exploration of film form that uses superimpositions, stop motion, and on-screen text, Schnabel’s work has an aesthetic affinity with the psychodramas of avant-garde filmmakers such as Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, and Stan Brakhage.

Listen: Highlights from KALW Interview

Highlights from KALW's Revoluions Per Minute, February 24, 2019: Host Sarah Cahill interviews Ann Schnabel-Mottier and Francois Mottier about Ann’s father, musician-filmmaker Karl Ulrich Schnabel and the Schnabel Family Music Foundation.

  • Karl Ulrich Schnabel
Based On
  • A fairy tale by Wilhelm Hauff

  • Karl Ulrich Schnabel
  • Silent
  • with German intertitles and English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • Silent
  • 83 mins
  • Schnabel Music Foundation
Additional Info
  • With music track