Le Sacre du Printemps

Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du printemps” was inspired by prehistoric rituals as well as by a dance performed for the Slavic god, Yarilo. In his silent film, director Oliver Herrmann transposes the story to the realm of Santeria – one of the few archaic religions still practised in the world today. In Herrmann’s version of “Sacre”, the material world is represented as an emotionally impoverished metropolis and the spiritual world is symbolised by a tropical island where Santeria rituals are still performed.
God is a black woman. In her kitchen she is busy preparing another one of her experiments, in this case, the creation of the three main characters:
Dr Bardot, a brain surgeon who feels terrorised by the chaos and dirt of the world around him; Esther, a woman consumed by grief following the death of her husband and Lucia, a young girl abused by her father who seeks revenge in an act of self-destruction.
The hands of god place Esther, Lucia and Dr Bardot in the same city in order to observe how they live. All three share the same fate: at the point when their maniacal obsessions reach their peak, they suddenly find themselves whisked away to a house by the ocean on a tropical island, where black albinos, dwarfs and transvestites prepare them for a ritual that will heal them of their fears. Meanwhile, god watches the result of her experiment through her kitchen window …
The music for this silent film was performed and recorded by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, who will also conduct a live performance of the work at the film’s premiere at Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall.
by Oliver Herrmann
with Sophie Semin, Ariadna del Carmen, Robert Hunger-Bühler
Germany / Switzerland 2003 38’

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