History of Death


Length: 4 vol., 26 min
Format: HD 16:9
Language: German, French
Directed by: Michael Trabitzsch and Nina Mair
Co-producer: Zelig, Bozen
TV co-producer: ZDF/ARTE, RAI BOZEN
Year: 2009
Film subsidy: Media Development

I. The heroic death
II. The trembling death
III. The intimate death
IV. The reconciliatory death

This series introduces us to famous cemeteries in Europe, one epoch at a time. The cemeteries are analysed and described as the most distinct testimonials of their epochs. At the same time, other cemeteries and other manifestations of death are introduced, in order to show the dynamic and sometimes dramatic struggle that took place in each epoch to establish the cultural form of memoria and so reflecting the changing relationship with death in different periods.

In each episode and for each epoch the dramatic basic question is posed: how to tame the terrible discontinuity of death? Death, the one thing that challenges our continuity, our perpetuity; our sense of existence; our transcendental imaginings. Each epoch has risen to the challenge anew, trying to find an answer and a form in which to do so.
The series as a whole results in a dramatised cultural-historical view of how western civilisation has in the past faced death, and which images, symbols and forms were utilised in order to retain the idea of "eternal life".

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