Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's interpretation of Orff's brilliant piece of music is a visual orgy of iconic images and art history references, a tribute to the sacred, the profane, the celestial, the mundane, and all that makes art art. It transcends the boundaries of the sacred and profane, showing how they both make up what it is to be human. One of the reviewers of this rare piece of European cultural and cinematic history remarked that this version of Orff's masterpiece of the sacred and profane was hard to find in Germany. Not so strange, it was banned there for decades, most likely because of its almost literal interpretation of the texts Orff put music to. I first saw this when I was 12-13 years old at the Goethe Institut i Bergen, Norway, with my father, sister and mother. Someone had managed to get hold of an 8mm film roll with it and had a secret screening. This was in the 1980s and, believe it or not, there were strong forces opposed to what the considered blasphemous content in films. The mixture of Christian and pagan imagery is completely consistent with the lyrics, which were found in a monastery, and are a mixture of sacred and profane songs, but were obviously too tough to swallow. Copies of the film were destroyed, but luckily, art prevailed.
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