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SWORD OF XANTEN
aka RING OF THE NIBELUNGS
UK: Columbia Tristar Films (UK)
Cast: Benno Furmann, Kristanna Løken, Alicia Witt, Julian Sands, Max von Sydow
Director: Uli Edel
Countries: Germany / South Africa
UK: 132 mins
UK Certificate: 12A contains brief moderate horror and moderate violence
UK Release Date: 19 November 2004 (Limited Release)
In a time lost to history, when the gods still walked among us ...... they sent a warrior to reclaim the mystic gold that had plunged the world into endless battle and bloodshed. But when dark forces eager to possess that prize thwart his destiny, a curse is unleashed that may destroy a kingdom.
This is the saga of Siegfried the dragon-slayer, his quest for the glory of the gods, and the women he is torn between - the warrior Queen of Iceland and the beautiful Princess of Burgund.
About The Story
Europe - the Dark Ages. When the evil Twin Kings betray his father, the King of Xanten, young Prince Siegfried (Benno Furmann) narrowly escapes with his life. Rescued by the kindly blacksmith Eyvind (Max von Sydow), he is raised as a simple blacksmith, unaware of his true kingly heritage. When the gods send him a sign of his destiny in the form of a fallen meteor, he is led to the metal that will be forged into his weapon, and the woman who will be his love: Brunhild (Kristanna Løken), the Valkyrie warrior queen. Duty drives them apart, but they swear to reunite - and never love another.
Siegfried comes to the kingdom of Burgund, where he earns the respect of King Gunther (Samuel West) and the love of Princess Kriemhild (Alicia Witt). But a powerful evil is plaguing the land, and it is up to Siegfried, armed only with the sword forged from the gods' metal, to slay the dragon Fafnir - and to claim the dragon's gold as his own. With this treasure comes the curse of its rightful owners, the mystic Nibelungs, and the hatred of Gunther's adviser, the villainous Hagen (Julian Sands), who covets the gold for his own. To gain the treasure, Hagen uses black magic to make Siegfried fall in love with Kriemhild and forget Brunhild, the love the gods had chosen for him. The curse then spins an expanding web of betrayal, deception and greed that traps everyone, plunging a world in chaos.
Director, Uli Edel, grew up in the Rhine river region where the RING OF THE NIBELUNGS story is set. "My father used to tell me the story of the Nibelungs when we were out fishing, and that I might still find the legendary treasure of the Nibelung, the Ring of the Nibelungs ... at the bottom of the river! In Germany we grew up with the story of the invincible Siegfried, and as a child I named my leaded Knight Toys Siegfried, Hagen, Giselher and Gunther", says Edel who drew the storyboards some eighteen years ago. "I had a passion to tell this story since my days at film school."
"The only thing that our story has in common with the Wagner opera is that we used some of the same material from the Volsung Saga," says Director, Uli Edel. "This story is about 1,500 years old. It was passed down verbally from generation to generation over hundreds of years until it was written down in the 13th century. In the past hundred years, it has been retold in various ways, and in many different versions, but my story focuses on the relationship between Siegfried, the dragon-slayer, his tragic love for Brunhild, the powerful Queen of Iceland, and the lovesick princess of Burgund, Kriemhild.
Edel's King Arthur, THE MISTS OF AVALON, saga is testament to his long time passion for mythological stories. "What interests me most about this genre is that the filmmaker can create a world - piece by piece - that only exists in the fantasy of man."