Death becomes her: you see an image of a woman in a flowered dress. She’s wearing a skeleton mask with “RIP” written in capital letters on her forehead. With her left hand she holds a piece of paper up to the camera: “F.v.G. 2023”. This could be the credits of the film or, if the letters visible in the image are read all together, an obituary notice: Rest in Peace, Friedl vom Gröller, 2023. In the next moment the woman sets the paper aside and tears the mask apart with both hands. The face of Friedl vom Gröller is revealed.

It’s almost superfluous to mention that this is not the first film by Friedl vom Gröller in which death plays a role. For example, the works in which she documents her mother’s passing away come to mind: Gutes Ende (2011), Ich auch, auch, ich auch (Me too, too, me too, 2012) and NEC SPE, NEC METU (2013) – as well as Ertrunken (Drowned, 2022), in which the filmmaker recites the song of the same name by Brecht/Weill. However, another film, which is not ostensibly about death at all, and in which the skeleton mask has already made an appearance, seems to fit better with the cheerfulness brought on by Tod – namely, Winter in Paris (2018). In that film, it is worn by a man in a hat who suddenly appears in the room where, on the scaffolding outside the window, parts of construction workers’ bodies were shown going about their work.

In Winter in Paris, Friedl vom Gröller embraces Death and kisses him passionately before turning and looking out the window at the city’s street life for the first time. The embrace of death and the tearing apart of the mask thus represent variations on a theme that could be described in approximate terms as a powerful intrusion of life into thoughts of death. (Vrääth Öhner)

Orig. Title
0 min 23 sec
Orig. Language
No Dialogue
Tod (Image)
Friedl vom Gröller
Concept & Realization
Friedl vom Gröller
Available Formats
16 mm (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Color Format