Brunhilds cinematic evolution in German film
Held, Ulla Kasprzyk
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This thesis investigates the portrayal of Brunhild in three major films that retell the Norse and Germanic variations of the legends of Brunhild and Siegfried: Fritz Lang’s Die Nibelungen (1924), Harald Reinl’s Die Nibelungen (1966), and Uli Edel’s Die Nibelungen - Der Fluch des Drachen (2004) (English title Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King, 2006). The emphasis will be on whether Brunhild is portrayed in keeping with the spirit of the Norse tradition, i.e. that of a strong woman with agency, by examining the decade the film was shot in, to include gender relations, the director and production team, the literary and other sources used for the film, and finally the plot of the film itself, coupled with the portrayal of the character by the respective actress. I will argue the portrayal of this epic figure does not correspond to the most successful and emancipated representation of Brunhild in the Norse tradition in Lang’s and Reinl’s films, whereas it does in Edel’s film. An overview of the legend and sagas that have served as sources for these films will be required in order to support my analyses. A connection between the making of these films and the directors’ choice of which literary Brunhild to portray will also be examined.