I am currently researching the Nibelungenlied for my oral exam. It’s probably the most famous German medieval epic. I’m sure everyone has heard the tale of Siegfried, the Dragon Slayer, once or twice in their lives. With its fame also comes great tragedy. The epic has been abused by the Nazis who made it into something it was not: a representation of true Germanic identity, loyalty, courage and all their propaganda bullshit. So, as you see, there have been various re-tellings of this tale, which was by the way written down around 12oo A.C. There are also various TV adaptions.

“In 1924,director Fritz Lang made a duology of silent fantasy films of the epic: Die Nibelungen: Siegfried and Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache.” (wiki) Here is a segment.

This is probably the most skillful adaption into film, so I wanted to see it. Download the movie somewhere, buy the DVD used or new, or what have you. I ended up digging deeper than I thought I would have to. As it turns out, the movie has been restored by the Murnau Stiftung. Also, a new final scene was inserted: UFA cut the the slaughtering of Kriemhilt, I think. Fun fact: the movie was not intended to be black and white, but actually a sort of orange tint. Now I really want to watch this.

But how is it possible that apparently, you cannot buy a German movie, about ‘the’ German epic, that has been restored in Germany, IN GERMANY? The DVD has only been released in the USA, Spain and UK as far as I could gather. Taszman from Berliner Morgenpost (German newspaper) sez that the interest for classic German movies might be higher in other countries. E.g. the restored / new version of “Metropolis” was a success with 20.000 sold DVDs, while in the US of A 80.000 copies were sold. With productions costs ranging from 60.000 to 150.000 €, publishers think twice before taking the risk here.

I heard that it will be screened on arte, German TV station, on October 3rd. Maybe I’ll catch that instead of paying 50 € on amazon for a Spanish copy! Or does anyone have any suggestions?

Sources:

http://www.morgenpost.de/printarchiv/kultur/article275966/Nibelungen_frisch_aus_Spanien.html

http://www.arte.tv/de/3174194,CmC=3174196.html

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