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4 Elements

Documentary, 2006, 89 min.

The four primordial elements Fire, Water, Earth and Air each symbolise a different aspect of life. To documentary filmmaker Jiska Rickels, they were the source of inspiration for 4 Elements, a four-part film about man's struggle with nature. In Fire, Siberian fire fighters defy forest fires spreading across hundreds of hectares. Water introduces fishermen in the Bering Sea, imperilling their lives to catch the exclusive king crab. Earth revolves around German miners daily descending 1200 metres into the earth. And Air follows Russian cosmonauts in their confrontation with the most extreme physical tests. Elaborating on her successful short film Untertage, Rickels immersed herself in four close-knit men's communities, where women are absent and camaraderie is strong. Hardly any words are spoken, there is no voice-over and the filmmaker does not interview anybody. Visual poetry - with a keen eye to detail - naturally blends with characteristic ambient sounds. The film was awarded as a Crystal Film.

won prizes

  • NL - NFF Crystal Film (10,000 visitors documentary)


  • NL - Netherlands Film Festival Golden Calf (2)






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