Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
Berlin International Film Festival
One of the most important and poignant environmental documentaries in recent years.



EARTH was filmed at seven locations that humans have transformed on a grand scale: Entire mountains being moved in California; a tunnel being sliced through rock at the Brenner Pass; an open-cast mine in Hungary; a marble quarry in Italy; a copper mine in Spain; the salt mine used to store radioactive waste in Wolfenbüttel; and a tar sands landscape in Canada. Initially shown from above as abstract paintings, these terrains are subsequently explored on the ground: The film weaves together observational footage of machines in operation with conversations with the workers. Alongside statements on work processes, environmental damage and technological change, EARTH makes this constructed world visible in unique fashion by subtly paring it down: the piles of grey matter, hills and mountains. The blackness and the cracks. The sandy landscapes, criss-crossed by an array of mechanical devices that scuttle about like caterpillars or worms. The dimensions are gigantic, the proportions out of control; the world has slipped from humanity’s grasp. “There is always a bigger machine, a bigger engine and when all fails there is dynamite. We always win,” boasts a quarry worker. Or do we?

“This documentary depicts searing images of the destruction of Earth’s topography and candid conversations with workers, engineers, and scientists. The jury commends the lamentation for Mother Earth spoken by an aboriginal Canadian woman at the conclusion of the film, which is an invitation to reflect on our responsibility.” ~ Jury statement, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Berlinale Forum 2019

“Geyrhalter proves again that he is a unique figure in world cinema." ~ Guardian

“High ambition is matched by impressive execution, resulting in a thought-provoking contribution to ongoing ecological debates.” ~ Hollywood Reporter

Director, producer, writer and cinematographer, Nikolaus Geyrhalter was born in Vienna, Austria in 1972. Geyrhalter’s static-camera, well-paced observational films tackle their subjects head-on, whether it’s exploring the terrain in Chernobyl, Ukraine (
Pripyat), tracing the route of the Dakar Rally (7915 Km), or investigating the production of processed foods (Our Daily Bread).

Not Rated
Documentary, Environment, Culture Vulture
German, English, Spanish, Hungarian, Italian
Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Winner, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Berlin International Film Festival
Manohla Dargis, New York Times

The day after I watched the documentary “Earth,” I spent time working in my garden, digging, planting, getting my hands dirty. I didn’t grow up gardening and I’m not especially good at it. Even so, when I’m not inadvertently killing plants, I find it satisfying tending the yard. It’s a small ...

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