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)


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
  • Jean-Marie Straub
  • Danièle Huillet
Based On
  • the first version of The Death of Empedocles by Friedrich Hölderlin

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