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The Death of Empedocles

Der Tod des Empedokles, Trauerspiel in zwei Akten von Friedrich Hölderlin 1798 - oder: wenn dann der Erde Grün von neuem euch erglänzt

France, West Germany, 1987
A Straub-Huillet Retrospective


An enemy of the priestly state, the philosopher Empedocles is cast into darkness, suffering the torments of loneliness and doubt, but finds renewed strength, even immortality, through the will of the people.

Our take

Through their adaptations, the films of Straub-Huillet transmit history and its re-interpretations of the world. Thus in this extraordinary, dense drama the story of a Greek proponent of communal utopia is written by a German poet at the time of the French Revolution—and then filmed in Sicily.

The Death of Empedocles Directed by Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub Watch now
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Critics reviews

In Too Early Too Late, long lingering looks at the Egyptian countryside traversed by villagers and animals provided a kind of lens through which one could read an offscreen recitation of Mahmoud Hussein’s text. In The Death of Empedocles, Holderlin’s text provides a lens through which we can “read” the natural landscape of Mount Etna and environs (which, by the way, are beautifully shot in 35-millimeter by Renato Berta).
December 02, 1988
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