Thanatos & Eros: A Monster Lovestory

Thanatos & Eros: A Monster Lovestory

(2004) – Digital Film, 60 minutes
Original Format: 35mm, S-16 & Super-8mm film, DV cam, Hi-8 video, VHS, and digital scans

My 7-year-old son, who was born with a slightly malformed hand, came and asked me a question the other day: “Does strange sex produce strange babies?” Then he turned to his German grandfather,  who is a Holocaust survivor, and asked him: “Where was our Savior during the Holocaust?” We looked at him and didn’t know what to say…. Then he began to tell us his story about the Holy Freak.

This is a documentary collage about what a child learns about love in the house of a Holocaust survivor and the bizarre savior myth he creates for comfort. Later, he makes an eccentric, personal travelogue of his return to the country which killed his family and his struggle to understand what love really can and can’t do.



(This excerpt is the entire 60 min. film in 30 seconds)

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Director’s Comment

Everyone has to have something to believe in, in order to go on. If someone in your family survived the Holocaust, what would you believe in as a child? God? Love? Your family? What if your family made you feel like a freak? As a child you would just make up a wild story to explain everything.

I never know where a film will lead me as I make it, but it gives me something to hold on to and a way to go forward. I ask myself and others real questions about lov~ death, healing, memory, and faith. I may not find answers, but out of the questioning I make thousands of pictures that are collaged into a sort of spiritual horror film.

he film weaves together a number of threads. One is the idea that the freak or monster, the crippled or deformed is closer to God because of their burden. I am interested in the experience of rejection and acceptance, whether among groups, within families, or within oneself. When we are attracted to someone, what are we really attracted to? Why do we grow up thinking love will save us and change our lives like a savior?

he film presents memory as a form of reincarnation and emotional growth as type of death and rebirth. Another thread is the exploration of the healing process that takes place after a personal or cultural trauma. Post-war Second generation Jews and Germans have constructed various myths in their attempts to explain, confront, forgive or deny the past. I am interested in how these myths transform or die over time. I am particularly fascinated by the emotional impact of images and how religions, war propaganda, pop culture and films all use them to leave a vivid afterimage in the mind’s eye.

The narrative collage style I have developed draws from the way survivors and disturbed people tell stories – fractured, searching for order or understanding. Hundreds of details, memories, and connections are all seen at once, flowing like a dream. Sometimes it feels like experiencing two people’s points of view at the same time, sometimes like a swirl of emotions that we can’t describe. Keeping the audience’s senses hyperactive through dissolving layers of picture, music, story, and editing, I hope to overwhelm the logical mind and stimulate an emotional experience.


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