Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This is a four-hour film performance of Wagner's opera "Parsifal" - about the legend of the Holy Grail (the chalice from which Christ drank at the Last Supper) and the Sacred Spear used by Longinus to pierce the side of Christ. In the opera both of these revered objects were brought down from Heaven and installed in a magic temple on a sacred mountain (Monsalvat) in northern Spain. An order of knights was created to guard the two objects, but their leader Amfortas (Armin Jordan) (Titurel, the first head knight had died) was wounded by the Spear in a battle with the evil Klingsor (Aage Haugland), who managed to steal the sacred object away. Amfortas' wound will not heal, but he does not die because of the blessings of the Holy Grail. As predicted, "Parsifal" (Michael Kutter) arrives on the scene - pure and noble in heart - and is brought to the magic temple where he witnesses Amfortas and other knights in a ritual involving the Holy Grail but does not understand what is going on. Next, "Parsifal" is thrown out of the temple and goes to attack Klingsor and his knights, roundly defeating the knights, but not yet their leader. "Parsifal" then finds himself in an enchanted garden where the sorceress Kundry (Edith Clever), an ally of Klingsor and yet in service of the Holy Grail at the same time, unsuccessfully tries to seduce him. As he casts off Kundry, her rage at this treatment causes her to call forth Klingsor, who throws the Sacred Spear at "Parsifal" - but it remains suspended over his head. "Parsifal" grabs the spear, and defeats Klingsor, and causes his castle to totally collapse. After years of wandering, "Parsifal" returns to the magic temple where Amfortas is brought to him and cured with the Spear. The Grail glows with light and a white dove flies down to Parsifal, bringing him heavenly benediction. Most of the primary roles in the filmed version of the opera were played by actors miming the words sung by opera stars, combining the best of two distinct worlds. The third world, that of the cinema itself, is enhanced by the "front projection" technique and other optical techniques that play with the observer's visual perception. Marionettes are used to introduce and close the opera, and the allusions developed in the images and motifs of the opera further expand its symbolism.
guard, Holy-Grail, knight, sacred, sorceress, spear, temple