A portrait of the Earth in the Anthropocene – at seven locations that humans have transformed on a grand scale: Entire mountains being moved in California, a tunnel being sliced through rock at the Brenner Pass, an open-cast mine in Hungary, a marble quarry in Italy, a copper mine in Spain, the salt mine used to store radioactive waste in Wolfenbüttel and a tar sands landscape in Canada. Initially shown from above as abstract paintings, these terrains are subsequently explored on the ground: The film weaves together observational footage of machines in operation with conversations with the workers. Alongside statements on work processes, environmental damage and technological change, Erde makes this constructed world visible in unique fashion by subtly paring it down: the piles of grey matter, hills and mountains. The blackness and the cracks. The sandy landscapes, criss-crossed by an array of mechanical devices that scuttle about like caterpillars or worms. The dimensions are gigantic, the proportions out of control; the world has slipped from humanity’s grasp. “There is always a bigger machine, a bigger engine and when all fails there is dynamite. We always win.” Or do we?
by Nikolaus Geyrhalter Austria 2019 English, German, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian 115’ Colour Documentary form


Written and Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Cinematography Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Editing Niki Mossböck
Sound Design Florian Kindlinger
Sound Pavel Cuzuioc, Simon Graf, Lenka Mikulová, Hjalti Bager-Jonathansson, Nora Czamler
Producers Michael Kitzberger, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Markus Glaser, Wolfgang Widerhofer

Produced by

Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Born in Vienna in 1972. Since 1992 he has worked as a director, cinematographer and screenwriter. He started his own production company in 1994.


1994 Angeschwemmt (Washed Ashore); 86 min. 1997 Das Jahr nach Dayton (The Year After Dayton); 204 min., Forum 1998 1999 Pripyat; 100 min., Forum 1999 2001 Elsewhere; 240 min. 2005 Unser täglich Brot (Our Daily Bread); 90 min. 2008 7915 km; 106 min. 2010 Allentsteig; 79 min. 2011 Abendland; 90 min. 2012 SMZ OST – Donauspital (Danube Hospital); 80 min. 2013 Cern; 80 min. 2015 Über die Jahre (Over the Years); 188 min., Forum 2015 2016 Homo sapiens (Homo Sapiens); 94 min., Forum 2016 2018 Die bauliche Maßnahme (The Border Fence); 112 Min. 2019 Erde

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019