Elfriede Jelinek's monumental novel "Die Kinder der Toten", her most important one according to her own assessment,
served as the template for a free movie adaptation produced in the original locations near the places where the Nobel Prize
Laureate grew up. A SUPER 8 holiday film from Upper Styria slowly turns into the resurrection of "undead" spooks. The
question of the (im)possibility of adequate processing of accrued debt shoots through all those aspects – nature, culture,
society, history – that are still part of national identity today.
Austria 2018 | 90 Min.Written, Filmed, Directed, and Edited by: Kelly Copper & Pavol Liška - Nature Theater of Oklahoma | Producer: Ulrich Seidl | Artistic Collaboration: Claus Philipp | Co-Edited by: Michael Palm | Supervising Sound Designer: Matz Müller | Re-Recording: Tobias Fleig | Composer: Wolfgang Mitterer | Line producer: Georg Aschauer, Daniela Trauner | Production Manager: Teresa-Saija Wieser | Producer USFP: Claus Philipp, Georg Aschauer | Cast: Andrea Maier, Greta Kostka, Klaus Unterrieder, Georg Beyer i. a.Supported by: Österreichisches Filminstitut, Land Steiermark, CINE ART: Kultur Land Steiermark | In collaboration with: ORF
Film/Fernseh-Abkommen I Produced by Ulrich Seidl Filmproduction © Vienna 2019 in collaboration with Steirischer Herbst 2017
- Director's statement
Austrian high literature meets amateur American B movie? ... sounded right up our alley. And pretty quickly we knew that this would have to be our starting point - somewhere between horror and heimat. In our version of DIE KINDER DER TOTEN, film is a kind of character as well as the medium through which the dead come back to life. If you look at the word for film screening or projection in French - it's "séance" - exactly the same word used for conjuring up the dead, which is what it must have seemed like to people when they first beheld moving images made of light. Pure magic. - Kelly Copper, Pavol Liška - Nature Theater of Oklahoma
"The actors are amateurs, as is the directing, the makeup looks cheap, the directors didn't even read the novel they were adapting. Everything could have gone wrong with the film, but didn't. Instead the film brings life to a novel that's almost impossible to adapt by turning it into a silent film about the return/literally: resurrection/ of the living dead. What's more, it resurrects not only the repressed past, but also - using the now almost extinct super-8 format, reminiscent of home movies - cinema itself. The result is hilarious, edgy, at times confusing, funny and something not everyone will agree on. But that's what cinema is all about: We need to disagree!"
Jury Statement, FIPRESCI prize, 2019 Berlin Forum
"Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska pull off a real feat: They transpose Elfriede Jelinek's dense language into moving pictures that eschew all dialogue, yet that produce an effect similar to that of the poet's words."
APA, Stefan May
"An excellent musical comedy with B-movie trappings that invites viewers to reflect on Austria'a Nazi past as well as the surgng xenophobia of today."
"A nightmare, zombie anti-folktale."
"Nazis, necrophilia, incest. An American directorial duo adapts a Jelinek novel that they haven't read. The result is silly, tasteless and disgusting - and hugely entertaining."
"Totally crazy, a mixture of orgy-mystery play, high trash opera and Christoph Schlingensief's genre-bender, The German Chainsaw Massacre. 'Die Kinder der Toten' is a clear sign that neither the eccentricity of Austria's rural areas nor the defiance of a large swathe of the film industry have weakended, as movements like #KlappeAuf have powerfully demonstrated. This struddle deserves our support."
"'Die Kinder der Toten' has a charming, punk-shambolic aesthetic, as if John Waters had shot a remake of an Ed Wood movie in the Austrian alps."
Pressbook PDF: german/english
© Ulrich Seidl Filmproduction