Reni Mertens, Walter Marti

Switzerland 1992. 81 Min.
color. 35 mm. without dialogue

Dead people. Millions and millions of dead people. To be precise: what is left of them, when nature has done its bit, the bodies have become nutrients, dissolved, and are finally allowed to disappear. What is left? Memory, or at least an attempt at remembering; and when even this is extinguished: ritual and register – the reminder that this life existed. Requiem sings of a culture of remembrance which becomes increasingly distant to us: that of a war cemetery. Row after row after row of identical crosses – passed through, driven around, researched and then contemplated formally, with the deepest respect, from a distance. Masses of names one has never heard of, all “Mort pour la France”, “Killed in action”, “Presente”, or whatever is written on these mostly simple tombstones; a formula with the aim of giving some meaning to the quasi-industrial mass-dying. Graveyard after graveyard, one more beautiful and cold than the other, flow into each other to form a huge cinematic canvas of images and music. The music can sometimes drive you mad too – how much easier it is to look at it all in silence, for things become more brutally close when the (dis)harmonies of Léon Francioli play. A film as monument. (om)


DirectorReni Mertens, Walter Marti
ScreenplayReni Mertens, Walter Marti
CinematographyUrs Thoenen
EditingEdwige Ochsenbein
MusicLéon Francioli
ProducersTeleproduction, Zürich, Reni Mertens, Walter Marti

Reni Mertens, Walter Marti