Et In Arcadia Ego

An idyllic summer scene: A sleeping woman reclines between two trees, a straw hat covering her knees and her double circling her form. The woman´s figure is somewhat unclear, as if her image had faded with time, as if this were a memory from the distant past. But who is remembering whom? The woman stands up and gazes into the camera intently, and the background seems to be a theater backdrop. Again and again, the two ghostly figures (in fact the same woman) flit past, apparently looking for something or examining their surroundings closely, without ever meeting.
The last image resembles the first, though it is possible that the two women have changed places.

Et In Arcadia Ego is a "painterly" film, and even its title reinforces this impression. This formula and its variations "conjure up a vision of unsurpassable happiness which is turned backwards toward the past", wrote Erwin Panofsky in his essay Et in Arcadia ego. Poussin und das Elegische (1936), which traces the long tradition and gradual change in the significance of the Arcadia motif in fine arts from memento mori to a symbol of "melancholy pregnant with memory." Whether the artist intended to make this reference
to art history or not - the potential for associations which she has created is appropriate.

(Isabella Reicher)

Two people, acted by the film-maker herself, move within a fixed image segment. The landscape seems remote from reality. Different camera speeds make it possible to experience different dimensions of time.

(Catalog of the 31st International Film Festival Rotterdam)

Orig. Title
Et In Arcadia Ego
Austria, Germany
3 min
Kerstin Cmelka
Orig. Language
no dialogue
Kerstin Cmelka
Available Formats
16 mm (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
24 fps
Festivals (Selection)
Oberhausen - Int. Kurzfilmtage
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des Österreichischen Films
Rotterdam - Int. Filmfestival
Istanbul - Int. Short Film Festival
Toronto - IMAGES - Independent Film & Video Festival