The Cave of Hercules

(Herakles Höhle)

GDR/Germany, 1990, 45 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)
Production Company
Themes & Genres:


Although Dammbeck’s original film project Herakles (Hercules) was rejected by the East German DEFA Studios in 1983-84, the artist was still fascinated by the Hercules story. He started experimenting with different media combinations, including overpainting, photography, film clips, collage, painting and movement. These experiments resulted in groundbreaking multi-media collaborations and this film, in which Dammbeck explores a series of questions inspired by the classical figure of Hercules. Who was the legendary hero? Is there a new Hercules today? How are heroes created in a totalitarian society? What are the virtues of heroes? 


This multi-layered experimental film combines projections of collected film clips, quotations from “The Willful Child,” by the Brothers Grimm, and “Hercules 2 or the Hydra,” by Heiner Müller, and dance scenes performed by Eva Schmale—at Kampnagel in Hamburg—just for this film. The Cave of Hercules is part of Dammbeck’s long-term project the Herakles-Konzept (Hercules Concept).



2018 Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film, Germany
1991 Berlin International Film Festival, Germany
1990 Exhibition German Video Art 1988-1990, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl, Germany




Press comments

“Exposing the concealed mechanisms of the world behind this thicket of signs, discovering its competing systems of power and thought, in short, revealing the ghost in the machine, that is the task Dammbeck undertakes in his work.”  —Sven Safarow, “Outlines of Power. The Cinema of Lutz Dammbeck”



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