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D’Annunzio’s Cave

GER 2005, 52 min

15 rooms of the Villa Cargnacco in Gardone on Lake Garda, where Gabriele D’Annunzio moved in 1921 and lived until his death. The villa is part of the Vittoriale, a museum-like theme park that D’Annunzio himself and his personal architect Giancarlo Maroni spent almost two decades designing and furnishing.


D’ANNUNZIO’S CAVE is the product of a cinematic jam-session held in Gabriele D’Annuzio Villa Cargnacco: four cameramen and film-makers (Irene von Alberti, Elfi Mikesch, Klaus Wyborny and Heinz Emigholz) simultaneously document the rooms of the villa in their specific styles.
Heinz Emigholz sees his two films on Gabriele D’Annunzio and Bruce Goff in close relation to each other: “Unlike GOFF IN THE DESERT, D’ANNUNZIO’S CAVE not only depicts its object, but also places it in the context of political monologues about lifestyle as an effort to police taste. The reason why the two films have such different forms is the difference between the phenomena shown. Bruce Goff’s architecture is clearly related to a recognizable use and a graspable logic of the material, which can be ‘read’ in the executed work without translation. His designing relates to the individual and promotes a free, human spirit. His buildings do not live from being impressing; they impress precisely with freedom. To allow them to be experienced, one merely has to present them as precisely as possible in their compositions and their relationships to their surroundings. The world erected by Gabriele D’Annunzio, in contrast, consists primarily of nothing but projections and backdrops that, if no interpretations are provided, reveal their existence as hodgepodge. He designed a sequence of rooms to which he allotted feelings and activities by fiat. Interior architecture measures attempt to create the ideal surroundings for a writer. The concentration of ‘writing’ is thereby supposed to be objectified in a collection of books, objects, cult objects, and fetishes. Like little shocks, these objects are supposed to keep awake the constant flow of memories and the timeliness of culture. They become the plenipotentiaries of authorship. This representation of the human spirit is not conceived as ‘private’, but stands for a political offensive into the world of those who are to be enlightened. D’Annunzio’s ‘private sphere’ becomes a political space and a vehicle of propaganda for a particular way of being. This way of being is derived from a sphere of political power – an unambiguous interpretation of reality born of and becoming violence.”

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Director and Screenplay
Heinz Emigholz
Director of Photography
Irene von Alberti, Heinz Emigholz, Elfi Mikesch, Klaus Wyborny
Jörg Langkau
Sound Design
Frank Kruse, Matthias Schwab
Irene von Alberti, Frieder Schlaich
Produced by
Filmgalerie 451
In Coproduction by
WDR (Wilfried Reichart)
With the Help of
MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg und SWR