Austria, 2019
115 minutes
directed by: Nikolaus Geyrhalter

This is an amazing movie by one of the greatest maestros of modern documentary, which premiered at the Berlin festival. Filmed by using Geyrhalter’s unique directing and shooting style, this is surely one of the most significant films which, with its strength and monumentality, puts us in the midst of the most current issues concerning the world today, and the destiny of the planet and mankind.

The fact, which impresses and horrifies us at the same time, that “humans move 156 million tons of rock and soil per day, making human kind the most decisive geological factor of our time”, has initiated this extraordinary film project, a planetary venture into the domains of cosmic changes. “The Earth” could be viewed as the first sequel of Geyrhalter’s previous great piece “Homo Sapiens”. However, unlike the reproving post-apocalyptic vision in “Homo Sapiens”, the vision of the planet where we discover the monumental and condemning human traces, this is now a grand portrayal of the encompassing human endeavours. The people, like ant colonies, in a multitude of ways, reconfigure the earth which we stand on and which contains the nature and the entire manmade world. Geyrhalter, with his studious observation, draws our attention and thoughts this time to the scenes of colossal endeavours undertaken by an army of diggers, drillers, cutters and stone breakers, who, strengthened by the huge, relentless machinery, change the Earth’s face daily. Completely unaware of their global impact, the passionate and dedicated actors of hill and mountain shifting, talk about their work in different languages. In the carefully inserted scenes between fascinating studies of vast spaces, best of those workmen celebrate their feats, thus giving a human touch to the worryingly massive geological apocalypse.

Nikolaus Geyrhalter creates “The Earth” as a magnificent film of strong visual impressions which, although authentically documentary, on a big movie screen become scenes of a science fiction movie. Starting with the very first shots, the scenery looks like that from other planets, and digging sites, pits and underground horizons become, before our very eyes, the spaces where the machines turn into self-controlling robots of distant space colonies. Often filmed with a satellite-like view, this movie creates a unique interpretation of the planet which is slowly turning into abstract painting-like sights deprived of intense colours.

Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Born in Vienna in 1972. Formed his own production company at the age of 22. His first documentary film "Angeschwemmt" of 1994 is the story of life on the Danube. Films "Pripyat" in 1999 and "Elsewhere" in 2001 brought him great international acclaim as a superb cinematographer and documentary filmmaker. He works as a director, producer, screenwriter and cinematographer. Winner of numerous important awards.

Selected filmography

  • THE EARTH (Erde), 2019
  • THE BORDER FENCE (Die bauliche massnahme), 2018
  • HOMO SAPIENS, 2016
  • OVER THE YEARS (Über die Jahre), 2015
  • CERN, 2013
  • DANUBE HOSPITAL (Donauspital), 2012
  • NIGHTLAND (Abendland), 2011
  • 7915 km, 2008
  • OUR DAILY BREAD (Unser täglich Brot), 2005
  • ELSEWHERE, 2001
  • PRIPYAT, 1999
  • THE YEAR AFTER DAYTON (Das Jahr nach Dayton), 1997
  • WASHED ASHORE (Angeschwemmt), 1994