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Enlightened Love - Laughing Death (Wagner: The Staging of a Family Drama) (Leuchtende Liebe - Lachender Tod (Das Familientheaer der Wagners))

Enlightened Love - Laughing Death (Wagner: The Staging of a Family Drama)
Scene from "Enlightened Love" (photo © Joerg Landsberg 2004)

The Bayreuth Festival is the most renowned festival in the world and has been ever since it was created by Richard Wagner. Never in the 120 years of its existence has it been directed by anyone outside the Wagner family.

The film tells the story of a family, a story which is almost identical with the history of a theater. Beyond that it shows the development of a family-clan as the inner reflection of world history, with all its cultural and political changes, on the outside.

The film shows the development of the Wagner-clan in connection with the realization of a project of world status. Dramatic elements of the music dramas of Richard Wagner – the struggle for money and power, deception, lies, perjury and adultery – interact with real events within the family. This interaction is so powerful that it can be seen as a domestic enaction of the mythological content of festival performances. This complex interwoven pattern, as well as the often disastrous political entanglement of the Wagner family, constitute the plot of the film.


Oliver Becker was born in 1967 and started making short films at the age of 14. In 1995, he made his first television documentary, followed by numerous other classical music documentaries and international concert recordings. A selection of his films includes: Dem Licht entgegen - Alexander Skrjabin: Kalkuel und Ekstase (1996), Portrait Peter Michael Hamel (1997), Verschlossene Heimat - Prokofjiews Sowjetisches Tagebuch 1927 (1998), Protest der Stille - der 9. Oktober 1989 in Leipzig (1999), Die Jagd nach dem Blech - ein musikalischer Spass mit German Brass (2000), Longing for Germany: The Conductor Wilhelm Furtwaengler (Wilhelm Furtwaengler - Sehnsucht nach Deutschland, 2003), Enlightened Love - Laughing Death (Wagner: The Staging of a Family Drama) (Leuchtende Liebe - Lachender Tod (Das Familientheater der Wagners), 2004), Kent Nagano - Seeking New Shores (2006), Klangfarbe Zukunft - Das Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester (2007), and Into the Cold Dawn (Dem kuehlen Morgen entgegen, 2008).
Genre Art
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2004
Director Oliver Becker
Screenplay Philippe Olivier, Oliver Becker
Cinematography Jörg Jeshel
Bernd Euscher
Peter Pickert
Producer Elke Peters
Production Company Neue Mira Film, in co-production with ZDF, ARTE, Transit Film/Munich
Length 60 min
Format color, b&w
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Versions English, French
With backing from Nordmedia
German Distributor Transit Film/Munich

World Sales
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mark.gruenthal@transitfilm.de; susanne.schumann@transitfilm.de
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