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The Children of the Dead

Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
Die Kinder der Toten
Austria 2019 / 90’
Take Me Somewhere Nice Tlamess

Produced by Ulrich Seidl, this adaptation of Elfriede Jelinek’s novel translates the demanding prose of the Nobel Prize winner into the language of cinema. The Children of the Dead is a triumph of the imagination and proof that the art of film still possesses formidable shamanic powers. Set in the bucolic landscape of Styria, the story is centered around the Alpenrose mountain inn, where delighted tourists wash down their schnitzel with mugs of beer. When an accident occurs on the mountain road, however, death unexpectedly shatters the idyll, transforming this bergfilme into an insane horror flick. Copper and Liska use the “spiritual” potential of Super 8 film and silent movies to exorcise Austria’s inglorious past and present-day hypocrisy. Pop-culture clichés and conventions expose the myths, lies and conformism of an Austrian culture that has avoided settling accounts with Nazism. Using horror and humor in equal measure, The Children of the Dead resurrects the ghosts of the past and organizes a great procession of zombies. This incredible on-screen parade, topped off with a great orgy of food and sex, features torture victims, Scandinavian tourists and a toxic mother-daughter relationship, as well as hungry Syrian poets who have been thrown out of the Alpenrose. 

Małgorzata Sadowska


Berlin IFF 2019 – FIPRESCI Award (Forum)

Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska

Kelly Copper and Slovak-born Pavol Liska met during their studies at Dartmouth College before later moving to New York and setting up the Nature Theater of Oklahoma there (a name taken from Kafka’s Amerika). Their performances have been staged at the prestigious Festival d'Avignon, among other places. The couple’s work has found inspiration in cinema, including the French New Wave. The Children of the Dead is their directorial debut. 


2019 Dzieci umarłych / Die Kinder der Toten / The Children of the Dead 

Cast & Crew

director Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
screenplay Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
cinematography Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
editing Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
music Wolfgang Mitterer, Matz Müller
cast Andrea Maier, Greta Kostka, Klaus Unterrieder
producer Ulrich Seidl
production Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion
sales Austrian Film Commission
language German
colouration colour