PerSo Masterpiece

By Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Austria, 2019, 115’ 
Saturday 12, 9.30pm, Cinema Postmodernissimo

Written and directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Director of Photography Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Editing Niki Mossböck
Sound Design Florian Kindlinger
Sound Pavel Cuzuioc, Simon Graf, Lenka Mikulová, Hjalti Bager-Jonathansson, Nora Czamler
Producers Michael Kitzberger, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Markus Glaser, Wolfgang Widerhofer
PRODUCED BY Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion


A portrait of the Earth in the Anthropocene – at seven locations that humans have transformed on a grand scale: Entire mountains being moved in California, a tunnel being sliced through rock at the Brenner Pass, an open-cast mine in Hungary, a marble quarry in Italy, a copper mine in Spain, the salt mine used to store radioactive waste in Wolfenbüttel and a tar sands landscape in Canada.

Initially shown from above as abstract paintings, these terrains are subsequently explored on the ground: The film weaves together observational footage of machines in operation with conversations with the workers. Alongside statements on work processes, environmental damage and technological change, Erde makes this constructed world visible in unique fashion by subtly paring it down: the piles of grey matter, hills and mountains. The blackness and the cracks. The sandy landscapes, criss-crossed by an array of mechanical devices that scuttle about like caterpillars or worms.

The dimensions are gigantic, the proportions out of control; the world has slipped from humanity’s grasp. “There is always a bigger machine, a bigger engine and when all fails there is dynamite. We always win.” Or do we?

Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Nikolaus Geyrhalter is a director, producer and cameraman, born in Vienna in 1972. In 1994, when he was 22 years old, he founded his own production company Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion which focusses on documentaries and auteur fiction. His film, HOMO SAPIENS (2016), was selected at the Berlinale Forum. His film THE BORDER FENCE (2018) was selected for IDFA. His film EARTH (2019) had its premiere at Berlin IFF.