Das Rheingold (1986)


set's photos


(in collaboration with Frank Theys)
87.27 min.
PAL – color – stereo
Orig. version: German

With: Hilt Devos (Fricka), Agnes Devries (Freia), Pol Goes (Mime), Johan Heestermans (Froh), Eric Stone (Donner), Frank Theys (Alberich – Fasolt), Hans theys (Loge), Koen theys (Wotan – Fafner), a.o.
Screenplay-direction-editing-production: Frank & Koen Theys
Camera: Danny Elsen
Sound: Charles Marique
Synchronisation: Drem Bruinsma
Make-up: Boas Toorjeman
Music: Richard Wgner
Performed by: Berliner Philharmoniker – Herbert von Karajan

Co-production: Beursschouwburg, Brussels - Continental Video, Antwerp – Ronny Courtens, Kortrijk – Culturele Centrale, Etterbeek – Hoger Sint-Lucas Instituut voor Beeldende Kunsten, Brussel – ICC, Antwerp – RTBF, Liège – Video-Art Festival, Locarno

This is the first part of the diptych Lied van mijn Land ('Song of my Soil'), based on Richard Wagner's operas Ring des Nibelungen and Parcifal. In Ring des Nibelungen, an interpretation of a German mythological epic, the composer associates power with the possession of gold. In Koen and Frank Theys' scenario the dwarf Alberich (in 'the Ring' the conquerer of the Rheingold) is constantly expanding his power by having his workers (the Nibelungen) work harder in order to raise the production of images in his imagery factory. The workers who do not decide the nature of the imagery production are being bombarded with images in their leisure time. The parallel with the anonymous yet professionally expert producers who work for powerful media rulers such as Forbes, Turner or Berlusconi who are endlessly sending uncritical entertainment programs into the homes of the consumer masses.

The Rhinemaidens (elusive, pink, sometimes blending electronic forms) tell the Nibelung Alberich (a naked dwarf) about the Rheingold. Whoever would be able to forge a ring out of this gold (to make television, i.e.), would gain exceptional power, but in doing this, however, he would have to forsake love. Alberich forsakes love and steals the gold. The supreme god, Wotan (a bald, somewhat foolish looking man who never makes a move without a white pedestal behind which to hide when he feels in danger), has changed his mind and no longer intends to give Freia to the giants Fasolt and Fafner, to reward them for having build Valhalla. When the giants (who have long, blond hair and wear very modern, cream-coloured pantaloons) come to claim Freia, the god Loge (a slightly frivolous god who is very fond of his stole) appears. He evokes the charms and virtues of the god and the giants become interested. They declare themselves willing to accept the gold in exchange for Freia, whom they abduct anyway. Wotan and Loge leave for Nibelheim. Alberich (who, now, tries to dress up in a grubby, little blanket) is inspecting the Nibelungen, who work for him, when he suddenly discovers Wotan and Loge on a monitor. Thanks to the Tarn-helmet, Alberich is able to assume any possible shape. Persuaded by the sly Loge to demonstrate his ability, he changes into a gigantic serpent. When Loge asks him whether he can change himself into something small as well, he adopts the shape of a toad (a video cassette), so that Wotan and Loge can catch him. In order to be set free, Alberich has to give the gold to the gods. He calls down a curse upon the gold. The first victims of this curse are Fasolt and Fafner. In a fight over the gold, Fasolt gets killed by his brother. The gods retire to Valhalla and Wotan sets out to create a race of demigods. The Rhinemaidens ask for the gold to be restored to them, but their request is scornfully denied.

… Here no longer the body as source of the voice, but the music as source of the body, …”
Willem De Greef – DES ARTS

entire article (NL) (FR)

“… KOEN en FRANK THEYS have exploited the limited technical facilities at their disposal in an original and effective way. Quite in the spirit of the Leitmotiv technique used by WAGNER in composing his drama the brothers developed pictoral motives for the different characters, situations and events…”
Gerard Lakke – MEDIAMATIC

entire article (NL) (EN)

“…We did interprete the gold and the ring as television, the power of the media…”
Frank and Koen Theys in an interview with Marc-Alexandre Pierson

entire article (FR)

“… 'Rhinegold', ninety minutes of continuous imagery-flux modulated on the great Wagnerian Leitmotivs. The choice is a work of genius and works perfectly…”
Konrad Maquestieau and Koen Van Daele - ARTICLES

entire article (EN) (FR)

“… All characters are singing in playback, the actors are mostly amateurs…”

Entire article (DE)