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Earthquake in Chile (1975)

Erdbeben in Chili (original title)
1647, Santiago, Chile. Don Henrico banishes his daughter, Josepha, to a convent when he learns she loves Jeronimo, a mestizo who's a teacher in the household. The lovers meet in secret, a ... See full summary »


Helma Sanders-Brahms (as Helma Sanders)


Helma Sanders-Brahms (screenplay) (as Helma Sanders), Heinrich von Kleist (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Peña Julia Peña ... Josephe Asteron
Maddalena Kerrh Maddalena Kerrh ... Josephe Asteron (voice) (as Magdalena Kerr)
Víctor Barrera Víctor Barrera ... Jeronimo Rugera (as Victor Alcazar)
Fred Maire Fred Maire ... Jeronimo Rugera (voice)
Fernando Villena Fernando Villena ... Don Henrico Asteron
Wolf Ackva Wolf Ackva ... Don Henrico Asteron (voice)
Juan Amigo Juan Amigo ... Don Fernando Ormez
Manfred Schott Manfred Schott ... Don Fernando Ormez (voice)
Ángel Álvarez ... Bischof (as Angel Alvarez)
Erik Jelde Erik Jelde ... Bischof (voice) (as Eric Jelde)
José Villasante José Villasante ... Familiar
Alois Maria Giani Alois Maria Giani ... Familiar (voice) (as Alois Maria Gianni)
María Jesús Hoyos María Jesús Hoyos ... Dona Elvira Ormez (as Maria Jesus Hoyos)
Lis Kertelge Lis Kertelge ... Dona Elvira Ormez (voice)
María Vico María Vico ... Dona Elisabeth Ormez


1647, Santiago, Chile. Don Henrico banishes his daughter, Josepha, to a convent when he learns she loves Jeronimo, a mestizo who's a teacher in the household. The lovers meet in secret, a child is born, the pair are condemned to die, and prelates scheme to seize Don Henrico's fortune. A moment before Josepha's public execution, an earthquake devastates Santiago. Josepha finds her baby and flees the rubble; Jeronimo survives, escapes, and finds her. The reunion brings joy and rebirth. He wants to build a Utopian community, without priests. She believes they can reenter Santiago society, forgiven. Class, race, and religion dictate a world order: is there a place for these lovers? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Drama | Romance




Spain | West Germany



Release Date:

21 March 1975 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Earthquake in Chile See more »

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User Reviews

Do you want the total non-intellectuality?
29 October 2009 | by hasoschSee all my reviews

Helma Sanders-Brahms "Das Erdbeben in Chili", based on the novella (1807) by Heinrich Von Kleist (1777-1811), was hardly noticed when it was broadcast in German TV (1975). First, people are principally skeptical when someone dares filming works of Kleist. Kleist's style is hard to read, due to the extremely intricate and nested sentences in which he just gives an absolute minimum of description. Second, Sanders-Brahms' work has often been criticizes as being "woody", and so is "The Earthquake". The actors act like marionettes in a naturalist manner, one is seduced to do that filming Kleist, but it does still not fit to his style, despite the "dry" or almost absent "flesh" around his characters.

So, it is just consequent that someone who decides to film a play of Kleist has to invent most of the circumstances that Kleist has left away, thus reconstructing or inventing the "flesh" around his almost redundancy-free texts that remember rather to mathematical commentaries than to belletristic opera. However, again, this does not mean that one is fully free in doing so, one could, e.g., compare the work of Kleist's contemporaries. Sanders-Brahm did not do that, she just completed "lacking" passages according to her own taste.

At that point, I have to place a serious critic: On reasons which I can only assume, Sanders-Brahms has a genuine sadistic pleasure in tormenting and killing animals. Watch, e.g., her movie "Die Berührte" ("No Mercy, No Future" (1981) in which she filmed as slow and as long as possible the ritual killing of a chicken. In the "Earthquake", we have first two scenes where a chicken is tormented. The subsequent slaughtering is yet not shown, but it is superfluously discussed extensively, later. Second, we have a long scene in which one of the actors catches fish in a shallow river. In almost slow-motion we are taught how to break the neck of a fish, but not before tormenting the animal by throwing it at least five times to the ground. The camera moves as close a possible to the head of the poor creature.

Since Sanders-Brahms is well known for her feminist approach, since even her main actress who is, according to Kleist, supposed to be a beautiful woman, is played by an ugly Lesbian looking creature, I wonder if sexual aberration is the reason for Sanders-Brahms perverse enchantment of savoring and filming animal killing. It is a fact that everyone can check for every single one of her movies that by such and similar "highlights" Sanders-Brahms conceals her total lack of intellectuality, despite the intellectual topics that she chooses for her movies. To top it all, that such trash which has rated by 6 people in 34 years (a truly unique achievement), is even put on DVD and distributed world-wide, is a shame and gives an extremely disadvantageous picture of an otherwise glorious epoch of German film.

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