A film by Jean-Marie Straub
2009, 27 minutes
No. 113

In various guises and in melodic fashion, Cornelia Geiser recites verses from Pierre Corneille’s Horace and Othon, and extended excerpts from Bertolt Brecht’s 1939 radio play The Trial of Lucullus, in which the Roman General is summoned to the underworld to stand trial for the sufferings he inflicted on commoners and slaves.

Across centuries of Western civilization, Straub draws echoes between the “monstrous” rulers of ancient Rome, the kings of 17th-century France, the fascists of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, and, by implication, those in power today who continue to inflict suffering on those without power.