Synopsis by Mark Deming
In this frankly bizarre fantasy story based on a novel by Austrian writer Robert Schneider, Elias Johannes Alder (Andre Eisermann) is born into a filthy, poverty-stricken village in the alps; his mother doesn't much care for him, and he later discovers he's the bastard son of the town's clergyman. As his mother is giving birth to his sister Elsbeth, Elias has an epiphany that causes his hearing to become unusually keen and his eyes to change color. He suddenly develops a tremendous talent for music, quickly mastering the church organ and performing and writing music with remarkable skill and passion. Once Elsbeth grows to maturity, Elias becomes obsessed with his sister and longs to be her lover; however, she breaks his heart by instead marrying Peter (Ben Becker), an old friend who is deeply moved by Elias' music. Driven to despair, Elias decides to commit suicide, but in a truly novel manner -- by giving up sleep. Director Joseph Vilsmaier also served as cinematographer; Schneider wrote the screenplay from his own novel.
composer, illegitimate-child, lust, musical-genius, sexual-attraction, sibling, sleep, suicide