[The Children of the Dead]
A film and performance project based on themes from Elfriede Jelinek’s novel of the same name
When Elfriede Jelinek was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 2004, her novel “Die Kinder der Toten” – Jelinek: “my most important work” – was regarded as an important basis for the jury in Stockholm. Published in 1995, the book is among Jelinek’s most voluminous novels, one which she refers to as a “ghost novel”.
Among other things, “Die Kinder der Toten”, highly complex in structure, represents an intensive examination of the Austrian memory of culture and repression of the Holocaust. Published in one of the “years of commemoration and thought”, the novel combines the question as to the possibility and/or impossibility of adequately “coming to terms” with what is at times a highly comical, then again bitter survey of the terrain on which national identity is created: from history, nature, home, patriotism in sport and popular culture to revisionist, “right-wing” ideologies. A thorough appropriation and marketing of nature with patriotic trimmings by national, Catholic Austrian self-images.
Appropriately enough, the protagonists of the book are undead: a student of philosophy, a former skiing star and FP politician, a secretary and eternal daughter find themselves one autumn in a little pension in Upper Styria, not knowing whether they are long dead, but at the same time bringing the dead back to life, and thus contributing to a gigantic landslide that buries, as it were, the whole ideal scenario of natural beauty, snugness, right-wing convictions and true faith. The setting of the novel “uncannily” sinks in the true sense of the word. It is also – literally once again – “monstrous” how Jelinek operates with devices of everyday culture (sports programmes, political party adverts, horror films; for instance the recent TV series “Les Revenants”) as well as with real-world, documentary material.
Nature Theater of Oklahoma open up a radically subjective approach that they already devised in two projects in Germany (“Die Nibelungen” on the Rhine and “Germany Year 2071” in Cologne and Berlin), in which film shoots were open to the public and the participation of the local population was in every respect desired. With “Die Kinder der Toten” they continue to evolve this method – into a radicalising political context and with a view to the possibility that the film thus created will actually be screened in cinemas in 2018. The New York off-off company last appeared at steirischer herbst in 2015 with the première of the final episodes of their long-running project “Life & Times”.
Direction & script Nature Theater of Oklahoma (Kelly Copper & Pavol Liska)
Production steirischer herbst
Location Original locations from the book in Upper Styria between around Neuberg an der Mürz and around Elfriede Jelinek’s early childhood home of Krampen, situated along the “Tyrol hiking trail”
We are seeking for participants for the project – castings are taking place as of now!
Participation is welcome in every respect. Major and minor roles are available. Anyone interested can take part in shooting, whether you’ve got time for just one day or ten days. Collaborators are required for all aspects of the film.
Shooting on site begins at the start of September and will culminate on the three weekends of the 2017 steirischer herbst festival (29/09–01/10, 06/10–08/10 and 13/10–15/10).
Information and contact:
+43 664 24 500 85