Cinema: Los Nibelungos, by Fritz Lang at the Liceu

As part of Wagner’s Bicentennial activities, the Liceu presents Die Nibelungen, the cult film Fritz Lang. With original and live music, performed by the Jove Orquestra Nacional de Catalunya (JONC) and with a new restored copy of the 35mm tape, this screening makes visible the consideration of cinema as a seventh art.

April 27, 2013. THE NIBELUNGES (DIE NIBELUNGEN) Germany 1924/2010

Siegfried / Siegfried (part one)
The veganza of Crimilda / Kriemhilds Rache (second part)

The Nibelungs, a two-part German film directed by Fritz Lang and released at the UFA-Palast am Zoo in Berlin in 1924, is considered a turning point in the conception of cinema as a work of art. Lang and his team were able to visually and aesthetically combine the new technical advances in lighting and photography that, added to an exquisite artistic direction, give it great plastic beauty.

The original legend of the Nibelungs, from the 12th century, had been overshadowed by the famous Wagnerian tetralogy. The script written by Thea von Harbou, which seeks to recover the primordial myth, is a mirror and slave of its historical context, the harsh German interwar period, and shares the romantic and epic spirit of those times. However, Lang focuses the subject on revenge and the unbridled masses, a recurring leitmotif in his filmography.

Everything that in the first part is noble and pure, in the second it becomes ill and dark, the final battle being nihilistic and violent, the cruel and visionary counterpoint of Nazi ideology. For this reason, the second part was distributed in a different version, short and softened, and with musical accompaniment by Wagner, a fact that infuriated its director.

Plot summary

Siegfried

In order to marry Crimilda, King Gunter’s sister, Siegfried must defeat Queen Brunhilda, and this warrior woman will only accept as her husband the man who defeats her in combat. Thanks to magic, Siegfried becomes Gunter and defeats Brunhilda. However, during the preparations for the double marriage, the queen discovers the deception and demands Siegfried’s life. Crimilda swears revenge for the death of her loved one and flees.

Crimilda’s revenge

Crimilda has married Etzel, whom she manipulates to avenge Sigfrido’s death. Gunter and Hagen, his murderous servant, are invited to a banquet, during which Etzel’s men kill Gunter’s soldiers. Hagen then kills the son of Crimilda, which causes a violent massacre.

Song

Gottfried Huppertz (Germany, 1887-1937) studied music in Cologne. Upon coming into contact with the world of theater and cinema, he met Fritz Lang, who expressly commissioned the music for this film and the next, Metropolis. His composition for Los nibelungos managed to intimately unite music and images, creating a choreography of light, rhythm and movement with impressive effects. For this reason, Huppertz is considered one of the greats of film music. His untimely death caused him to be unjustly forgotten for years.

Restoration

The Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung has carried out this exemplary restoration, the result of years of research and the collaboration of numerous film libraries, including the Filmoteca de Catalunya. Los nibelungos is presented today in a new 35 mm copy with the original music, performed by the Jove Orquestra Nacion al de Catalunya (JONC). Images and music, a total show.

LOS NIBELUNGOS (THE NIBELUNG)

  • Director Fritz Lang
  • Screenplay Thea von Harbou
  • Photography Carl Hoffmann and Günther Rittau
  • Photography assistance Günther Anders
  • Optical special effects Ernst Kunstmann
  • Animation Walther Ruttmann
  • Artistic direction Otto Hunte
  • Decorados Erich Kettelhut, Karl Vollbrecht
  • Construction of the Dragon Karl Vollbrecht
  • Maquetas Walter Schulze-Mittendorff
  • Attrezzo Heinrich Umlauff
  • Vestuario Änne Willkomm, Heinrich Umlauff
  • Characterization Otto Genah
  • Editing Paul Falkenberg
  • Música Gottfried Huppert

Distribution

  • Kiemhild Margarethe Schön
  • Siegfried Paul Richter
  • Brunhild Hanna Ralp
  • Hagen Tronje Hans Adalbert Schlettow
  • Rey Gunther Theodor Loos
  • Giselher Erwin Biswanger
  • Gerenot Hans Carl Müller
  • Reina Ute Gertrud Arnold
  • Volker von Alzey Bernhard Goetzke
  • Mime / Alberich / Blaodel Georg John
  • Rei Etzel Rudolf Klein-Rogge
  • Margrave Rüdiger von Bechlarn Rudolf Rittner
  • Thanks Quarter Hardy by François

35mm, 1: 1.33. Black and white tinted.

  • First part: 3,354 meters, 147 min, 20ips;
  • Second part: 2,930 meters, 117 min, 22ips.
THE NIBELUNGEN. Siegfried

Cinema: Los Nibelungos, by Fritz Lang at the Liceu
THE NIBELUNGEN. Brunhild

Cinema: Los Nibelungos, by Fritz Lang at the Liceu
THE NIBELUNGEN. Kriemhild

© 2013 Dance Ballet®