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The holy Bunch

GER 1991, 89 min

The death of a friend provokes a goup of artists to take a serious look at their own survival. THE HOLY BUNCH examines the manifold relationships between the edificies of a monumental architecture meant to last forever and the human body trapped in its finite life span.



Carl is having trouble writing. As the film progresses, his novelistic character develops into a real person who intervenes in his life with increasing menace. The lector Roy supports Carl but is marked by a severe illness. To escape his difficulties, Carl accompanies Jon and Liza on an architectural journey. Bela and Fred remain behind with Roy and are confronted with his approaching death. For his friends, his death becomes the motive to reconstruct their life spent together.

Heinz Emigholz analyses in his film the meaning of death and loss for an artistic correlation of work, as it existed between the friends. With photographic exactness Emigholz uses the spatial architectonic possibilities of every filmic take. On the one hand he contrasts architectonic positions, the architecture of power, as represented by the Cologne Cathedral and Gaudí’s organic designs exemplified by La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and on the other hand he succeeds in cinematographically exploring the relationships of the individual to buildings and architectural environments anew. His camera transposes the audience into a tight mesh of spatial relationships. In doing so, Emigholz does not rely upon outmoded avantgarde conceptions, but manages, by means of the study conducted in the film, to reconstruct personal past from things left behind – and this includes all works of art – and to create a context that is meaningful and experienceable for a wider audience.

THE HOLY BUNCH is a weapon because it is exposive, because it traces back the path from the buildings to the mind of the builder, from the sentences to their conceivers, from the products to the producers. The wit of the film is that of its literalness. It does not shy away from showing reality as the bad joke it has been made into, from analysing the distortedness of feelings instead of denying them, from allowing complexity to exist where sellout calls the tune, from accepting the fact of loss where it is so convenient to go over to the order of the day.

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Director, Screenplay and Director of Photography
Heinz Emigholz
Renate Merck
Nikolaus Utermöhlen
Klaus Behnken, Eckhard Rhode, Wolfgang Müller, Kyle deCamp, Carola Regnier, John Erdman, Bernd Broaderup
Axel Schäffler
Original Sound
Alfred Olbrisch
Sound Assistant
Michael Janssen
Sound Mixer
Stephan Konken
Assistant Editor
Yelka Lange
Art Director
Ueli Etter
Set Design
Ueli Etter, Detlev Niebuhr
Production Manager
Frieder Schlaich
Production Assistant
Andre Lützen, Andreas Brachwitz
Assistant Director
Andreas Senn
Produced by
Pym Films
With the Help of
the Filmbüros of Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia
In Cooperation with