Staging Death

Nobody dies more beautifully than Udo Kier. In Jan Soldat’s Staging Death, via lively montage Kier’s multifarious passing away in several dozen roles becomes a frantic gallop through five decades of film and television history and a comprehensive tribute to this fearless actor, who has surfed between (ostensibly) noble art and the most sacred trash. Kier's highly individual performances ooze an idiosyncratic physicality that is at its clearest, purest, and most beautiful in the moments of his on-screen death. His legendary blue eyes are sometimes open, sometimes closed, his mouth wide open for one final scream, sometimes distorted in pain, sometimes smiling almost peacefully. The body, not quite yet a corpse, twitches or rests or is shot at and torn apart. With each blink of an eye, another new cosmos opens up in Jan Soldat’s artistically playful condensation of this unprecedented career. Each individual film, through its texture and atmosphere, suggests different production values and contexts: from auteur films to video store fodder, from sexploitation to children’s TV shows, from blockbusters to the avant-garde. Seen in this way, Staging Death is also the delightful distillation of a worthy research project that covers 170 feature films and 50 short films as well as 120 episodes of television series. Out of all the dead Udos grew this homage, as an essay and work of found footage, a supercut as indeterminate, indefinable and effortlessly cool as its star. In the middle of it all, as the climax and key moment, is a scene from John Carpenter’s masterful one-hour film Cigarette Burns: Udo Kier does himself in and threads his intestines into a film projector. “I made my own movie,” he says into the camera, as if he doesn't know that he’s always done this, that it’s always been this way. 
(Markus Keuschnigg)

Translation: John Wojtowicz

Udo Kier dies his way through film history. He screams, falls, lies, is chopped up, shot or takes his own life. Again and again his empty gaze, again and again his rigid body. In 54 years of acting career Udo Kier played in more than 170 feature films, 120 series episodes and 50 short films. More than 70 times Udo Kier tried to give an expression to dying and death. In Staging Death these representations of death merge into a montage of the most diverse shot sizes, film formats, special effects and sound designs. European auteur cinema, Hollywood blockbuster, independent trash, art installation, television film, commercial, music video and children's series: in Udo Kier's oeuvre, everything becomes one. In this sense, "Staging Death" also moves between document, essay, found footage, supercut and Youtube clip. (production note, Jan Soldat)


Orig. Title
Staging Death
Austria, Germany
8 min
Jan Soldat
Avantgarde/Arts, Experimental
Orig. Language
German, English
English, french
Filmstill (Image)
Jan Soldat
found footage
Jan Soldat
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
colour, b/w
Festivals (Selection)
Denver - Int. Film Festival
Cannes - Quinzaine des Réalisateurs
Strasbourg - Festival Augenblick
Wiesbaden - exground on screen
Vilnius - International Short Film Festival VISFF
Braunschweig - Internationales Filmfestival
Paris - L'Etrange Festival
Rennes - Court Métrange Festival
Guanajuato - Festival internacional de Cine
Pesaro - Film Festival
Jersey Island - „13th Parish“ Festival of Independent Film
Lissabon - Indielisboa Int. Film and Videofestival
Jeonju - International Film Festival
Vilnius - International Short Film Festival VISFF
Ljubljana - Kurja Polt Genre Film Festival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Prizren - DokuFest, International Documentary and Short Film Festival
Innsbruck - Diametrale Filmfestival
Athen - Independent Film Festival
Brussels - Courts Mais Trash
Dresden - Filmfest
Bratislava - Febiofest
Trondheim - Minimalen Short Film Festival
Regensburg - Kurzfilmwoche
Tampere - Film Festival
Winnipeg - Gimme Some Truth Documentary Festival
Aix-en-Provence - Festival Tous Courts
Porto - Post Porto Doc
Kassel Dokumentarfilm & Videofestival
Vigo - Galician Freaky Film Festival
Québec - Festival de cinéma de la ville de Québec - FCVQ
Sydney - Sydney Underground Film Festival
Sao Paulo - Short Film Festival
Wien - VIS Vienna Shorts
Praha Short Film Festival