The poem Todesfuge [Death Fugue] by Paul Celan challenges Nives Widauer to work against the dictum of Theodor W. Adorno, that the experience of Auschwitz cannot be expressed in cultural forms: the incomprehensible thing about the killing business in Auschwitz, expressed in artistic writing by Paul Celan, is placed into a visual pan, starting with a scream on the roof of the water tower in the 10th city district of Vienna, and leading to St Stephan's Cathedral and the Kunsthistorisches Museum [Museum of Fine Arts]. Actress Andrea Eckert, who reads the text of the poem, runs along the street;
a bird flies into the picture, the sign of the Shanghai restaurant can be seen, the woman runs out of the picture past the camera and returns through a side wing to the altar of St Stephan's Cathedral, where the camera, which has in the meantime entered the main portal of the cathedral, again captures her.

The film poem by Nives Widauer tries to capture the changeovers between the lyrical characters of the poem – between Us, Him (the man, death) and You (Margarethe and Sulamith) – with changes in the position of the camera. Now and again, the background film sequences – a blonde girl in a red dress, combing her hair – are inserted to interrupt the perspectives.

paul celan

video, colour
14:52 min.

video by nives widauer
with andrea eckert
camera: robert neumüller
sound: bruce hops
with support of ORF.
(c) nives widauer