Destiny (Der Müde Tod)

Movie Information

In Brief: The Asheville Film Society keeps rolling out historic horror hits this week with a slight change of pace: Fritz Lang's exceptional silent fantasy/horror hybrid, Destiny (1921). Lang's breakout picture is also one of his most underrated, despite being massively influential — it's the movie that prompted Luis Buñuel to pick up a camera, its impact on Bergman's The Seventh Seal is beyond question, and countless films would borrow its narrative conceit over the next century. The story follows a young woman whose husband's soul is claimed by Death personified, but she's not willing to let it go without a fight. Death, tired of his daily grind (the original title translates to "The Weary Death") offers her an appropriately Sisyphean bargain — if she can change the outcome of any of three stories similar to her own, she can have her lover back. This goes about as well as you'd expect, but Lang's aesthetic innovations and effects work mark Destiny as a highpoint in the director's early oeuvre and would go on to help to define the style of the German Expressionist cinema. It's not just an historically important film, it's also a haunting work of visual poetry.
Genre: Horror
Director: Fritz Lang
Starring: Lil Dagover, Bernhard Goetzke, Walter Janssen, Rudolf Klein-Rogge
Rated: NR

The Asheville Film Society will screen Destiny on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at The Grail Moviehouse, hosted by Xpress movie critic Scott Douglas.


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