Destiny (Der Mude Tod)
Fritz Lang (METROPOLIS, M, THE BIG HEAT) creates an allegory of love, death and faith in this elaborate tale of a woman's quest to test fate. Realizing that her husband has been taken away by Death--literally, dragged out by an old cloaked man symbolizing the end of life--a young woman tries in desperation to bring him back. After a vision of lost souls marching into Death's property, the woman faints and is taken to the herbalist's house, where in despair, she takes a vial of poison. As the woman faces Death, he presents her with three flickering lights, which represent three lives about to end. Death tells her he is tired of his duties and dislikes seeing so much human suffering, but that no one has the power to defeat him. If she can save any of the three lives represented by the candles before her, Death promises to return her lover to her. From there, the heroine travels through ancient Baghdad, Italy, and China, learning the three tragic love stories of the three people who are about to lose their lives. While the woman races against fate and time, Lang uses complex special effects and subtle expressionist cinematography to create compelling moods and atmospheres of urgency and mysticism.