HD video, 44 min (2 min sample)
"Externsteine” takes as its subject the rock formation in north Germany which attracts both neo-Pagans, new-Agers and neo-Nazis to seasonal celebrations, in which each cult relates Externsteine’s extraordinary landscape to their own version of ecological, spiritual and political mythology.
Although the pre-history of these rocks is largely unknown and archaeological digs have turned up little, Himmler nevertheless identified the site as sacred to the ancient Germans. Pulled into the bizarre space where Nazism and occult pseudo-history overlapped, the actual history of Externsteine was overshadowed by an entirely imagined ancient Teutonic history.
Using documentary and semi-fictional means, “Externsteine” unravels how German Romanticism, contemporary political extremism and new-age spiritualism rework different ideas about history, myth, nature, community and human identity.
While presenting documentary encounters with individuals connected with the site – anti-Nazi officials, historians, archeologists etc– it also plunges the viewer into a semi-fictional encounter with the landscape and those who inhabit it, spinning the archaic practices of present-day cultists into a narrative of utopian communities of the future.
The film examines how secular, rationalist culture struggles to acknowledge or answer the continuing attraction of mythical and fundamentalist ideas, at a time when nationalism and irrationalism appear to be experiencing a revival.