The Children of the Dead – Die Kinder Der Toten / Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska

  • Country and year: Austria 2019
  • Rating: 16
  • Duration: 90 min
  • Director and writer: Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
  • Producer(s): Ulrich Seidl
  • Cinematographer: Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
  • Music: Wolfgang Mitterer
  • Cast: Andrea Maier, Greta Kostka, Klaus Unterrieder, Georg Beyer
  • Language: Silent movie
  • Subtitles: English
  • Format: DCP

”Charmingly shambolic and punkish aesthetic, as if John Waters re-made an Ed Wood film and set it in the Austrian mountains”
– Hannah Proctor / Another Gaze


”Tourism is booming at the Pension Alpenrose. After a dying in an accident, Karin returns as one of the undead. In a cinema owned by a Nazi widow where the past is mourned, she brings the dead back to life.

In her 666-page ghost novel “The Children of the Dead”, Elfriede Jelinek allows the deceased to rise again – even those with swastikas and yellow stars usually so gladly forgotten. Can Jelinek’s themes be adapted to film, not to mention her way with language? The directorial duo from the Nature Theater of Oklahoma were unafraid to try, conscious that the idea might not work. Using amateur actors and Super 8 film in the original Styrian settings, they carried out a transposition, to borrow a musical term: from text to silent film, complete with brass-band music. Or rather a “heimat” film, a home-movie horror, in which the vulgar and the ridiculous survived the shift intact. The viewer is immersed in the universe of the text – and somewhere else at the same time. The parade of zombies in the supermarket recalls the genre films Jelinek herself mentioned as an inspiration, only giving greater credence to the sense that this blend of text, performance, and film, was a terrific idea.” – Berlinale

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