Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Die Nibelungen. 2. Teil: Kriemhilds Rache (FWMS restoration in colour 2010)

DIE NIBELUNGEN. 2. TEIL: KRIEMHILDS RACHE (La vendetta di Crimilde / Kriemhild’s Revenge) (Decla-Bioscop AG - DE 1924) D: Fritz Lang; P: Erich Pommer; SC: Thea von Harbou; ED: Paul Falkenberg; DP: Carl Hoffmann, Günther Rittau; AD: Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut, Karl Vollbrecht; M: Gottfried Huppertz (1924).
    C: Frida Richard (the maiden of runes), Margarethe Schön (Kriemhild), Rudolf Klein-Rogge (King Etzel), Theodor Loos (King Gunther), Hans Carl Müller (Gerenot), Erwin Biswanger (Giselher), Hans Adalbert Schlettow (Hagen Tronje), Rudolf Rittner (Margrave Rüdiger von Bechlarn), Aenne Röttgen (his daughter Dietlind), Bernhard Goetzke (Volker von Alzey), Fritz Alberti (Dietrich von Bern), Gertrud Arnold (Queen Ute), Georg John (Blaodel, King Etzel’s brother), Hubert Heinrich (minstrel Werbel), Georg August Koch (Hildebrand), Grete Berger (donna unna / Hun), Paul Richter (Siegfried), Hardy von François (Dankwart), Georg Jurowski (sacerdote / Priest), Iris Roberts (armigero / squire), Hanna Ralph (Brunhild); filmed: 1922-11.1923 (Ufa-Freigelände Neubabelsberg); première: 26.4.1924, Ufa-Palast am Zoo (Berlin); 35 mm, 3255 m, 128' (22 fps); titles: GER; print source: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung, Wiesbaden. Restoration: 2010. [142'? Maybe I did not clock this right.]
    With e-subtitles in English and Italian, live music by: Maud Nelissen (piano) with Frank Bockius (percussions), Romano Todesco (contrabbasso, fisarmonica), Elizabeth-Jane Baldry (harp), at Teatro Verdi (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto), Pordenone, 8 Oct 2014

AA: The long night in Pordenone included a 45 minute break for a Die Nibelungen dinner. It was not a medieval theme dinner, just a regular buffet at Hotel Moderno in reliable good Italian fashion.

Yesterday we saw Sir Arne's Treasure, in my opinion an influence on Die Nibelungen. Mauritz Stiller's mise-en-scène of the final funeral procession has directly influenced Fritz Lang and Sergei Eisenstein. There is also the treasure theme in both Sir Arne's Treasure and Die Nibelungen (der Nibelungenhort = the Nibelungen Treasure). Most importantly, there is the approach to history as a living myth. In both Sir Arne's Treasure and Die Nibelungen there is psychological complexity and credibility in the characters. At the same time, Sir Arne's Treasure is "a winter ballad", and die Nibelungen is a German foundation myth.

The stunning surprise of Kriemhild's Revenge is that Kriemhild's hate is stronger than the rampaging fury of the Huns. Kriemhild marries Attila the King of the Huns only to wreak revenge on the Nibelungen. Attila is a strong and ruthless ruler, but Kriemhild's hate is even stronger. The men in general are often at loss with the formidable women of Die Nibelungen, and Attila is no exception. "Keinem andern Manne gehörte sie je" - "She never belonged to another man", states Attila after Kriemhild's death (another stab in the back, another Dolchstosslegende), although Kriemhild has given birth to his baby.

Die Nibelungen was filmed and edited to the score of Gottfried Huppertz, which I always expect to hear ever since I heard it for the first time.

Maud Nelissen's quartet did a great job in the two parts of the movie, each of them divided into seven cantos. Yes, even the chapters of Die Nibelungen and Metropolis have musical titles. The music was inspired, versatile, and experimental, and built to a tremendous crescendo in the catastrophic destruction of the finale.

I saw Die Nibelungen for the first time in colour, and I liked the beautiful sepia toning simulation.

P.S. 29 March 2015: summing up Die Nibelungen in one word, that word would be der Todestrieb - the death instinct. Its subtext, its profound undercurrent for me is the deeply felt experience of the First World War. At the same time it is a prophecy of the Second World War.

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