Trailer · Background Material · Pictures · Official Site · Flyer
produced, directed and lensed by: Joseph Vilsmaier
based on the novel by Robert Schneider
starring: André Eisermann, Dana Vavrova, Ben Becker, Michael Mendl, Eva Mattes, Lena Stolze, Detlef Bothe
Running time 127 minutes, Dolby Stereo SR, Cinemascope
winner Silver Filmstripe for best Film, German Film Awards 1996
Official German entry to the 1996 Academy Awards
nominated for the 1996 Golden Globe (best foreign film)
winner Golden Filmstripe for best Editing, German Film Awards 1996
winner of the Bavarian Filmprize 1996
winner Trento Filmfestival 1996
US theatrical release through Sony Classics
"A rare and beautiful example of truly artistic cinema! A provocative and mystical treat for the eyes, ears, and mind. Haunting, highly entertaining and visually stunning!" - Paul Wunder, WBAI
"A strange, hypnotic and magic quality to this film. Gorgeously filmed, Joseph Vilsmaier s wierd fable is reminiscent of early Werner Herzog..it's like Philip Glass on acid!" - Dennis Dermody, PAPER
From the director of the award winning "STALINGRAD" and "AUTUMN MILK" comes this epic drama about the life of a gifted musician, who lives like an hermit in a remote mountain village in the early 19th century. His supernatural power of hearing are matched in intensity only by his self destructive passion for a young woman and his ultimate inability to return her love...
Eschberg, an Alpine village. Early 19th century. This is where Elias Alder (André Eisermann) lives. All the village inhabitants, including his parents, have avoided the boy who seems strangely lost in a reverie from the time of his childhood. During this period he has only one friend, Peter (Ben Becker), the neigbour's son. He is addicted to Elias by a merciless love and becomes literally wild with jealousy when he sees that his sister Elsbeth (Dana Vávrová) and Elias are very fond of each other. However, this something that Elias does not at first even admit to himself. For he only lives for his music. Blessed as an adolescent by a miracle of hearing where all the sounds of the universe come together within him in a furious tempest, Elias possesses perfect pitch and a wonderful singing voice. Once grown to full manhood, he devotes himself completely to music and delights the Eschbergers with his organ-playing.
But his inability to return Elsbeth's love in the manner she so desires, and Peter's incredible jealousy, lead to a series of cruel events: an ill-fated fire destroys the whole of Eschberg, a cowardly murder and other horrors occur. And although Elias Alder is able one day to show the world his true genius and talent in a concert in the cathedral at Feldberg, he decides, at the peak of his triumph, and out of love for Elsbeth, to not sleep anymore...
(Direction, Camera, Production)
Born in 1939 in Munich. Training from 1953-1961 in the camera technical department, studio and laboratory at Arnold & Richter (ARRI), and, at the same time, studies in Music at Munich's Conservatoire, majoring in Piano. In 1961, employment at Bavaria Film as assistant cameraman, director of photography from 1972. In 1988, Vilsmaier founded his own production company, Perathon Film, and made his directorial debut with Autumn Milk (Herbstmilch). Joseph Vilsmaier has been married to the actress Dana Vávrová since 1986, and they have three daughters Janina, Theresa and Josefina.
Autumn Milk received numerous international and national awards, such as main prizes at the festivals of Tokyo, Verona, Hong Kong, the Bavarian Film Prize for the main actors Dana Vávrová and Werner Stocker, the German Film Prize in Gold for Dana Vávrová, the German Film Prize in Silver for Perathon Film, the Golden Guild Prize for Joseph Vilsmaier, the Actors Award of the Film & Television Directors (Chaplin Shoe) for Dana Vávrová, and the Acting Prize for Dana Vávrová at the festival in Valladolid. Stalingrad was awarded the Main Prize at the Moscow Film Festival. Joseph Vilsmaier is three times winner of the Bavarian Film Prize, a winner of German Film Prize and the Golden Guild Prize.