Am Galgen hängt die Liebe


Am Galgen hängt die Liebe

Edwin Zbonek
BRD, 1960
93min, dOF

Bild: Sammlung Österreichisches Filmmuseum Bild: Sammlung Österreichisches Filmmuseum

Am Galgen hängt die Liebe

Edwin Zbonek
BRD, 1960
, 93min, dOF

Carl Wery
Annie Rosar
Bert Fortell
Marisa Mell
Paul Esser
Sieghardt Rupp
Erna Fentsch
basierend auf Leopold Ahlsen’s Stück Philemon und Baucis
Walter Partsch
Eleonore Kunze
Ernst Roters

Rex-Film Bloemer & Co., Berlin
35 mm
Print courtesy of Österreichisches Filmmuseum

Nikolaus and Marulja, an old couple living in the simplest of conditions in a secluded house on the edge of their community, follow a cast-iron moral code: that of the human right to hospitality and help. In early ’40s Greece, that means that their door is open to partisans as well as deserters from the Wehrmacht. In this hostile environment, their small, ramshackle hut seems to offer the only remaining sanctuary. Although they seek out the shelter of their kindness, however, none of the members of the two opposing forces are willing to bow to the principles of the two elders. Compared with other productions made by the German-Austrian post-war workshop, Edwin Zbonek’s feature debut seems to stem from a parallel universe. A partisan spaghetti western with hard Heimatfilm contours, AM GALGEN HÄNGT DIE LIEBE is utterly devoid of the questionable ambivalence and sentimentalism that permeated the popular media discourse of the time. Zbonek suffuses the film with an indelible faith in human kindness, making a strong case for togetherness in the face of wartime brutality. In their refusal to distinguish between friend and foe, the characters end up sharing a terrible fate that, more often than not, seems to await those who say no to all complicity in villainy, making them true and exemplary figures of dissent.