The Rebel Body


Text (English)




Electrocuting the ElephantThe People v. The Cock of Basel

Film still from The Rebel Body, 2019.

This synopsis is an accompaniment to The Rebel Body, a film screening; on view in the Screening Room September 5-30, 2023.

The Rebel Body

The Rebel Body (2019) follows the murder of Anna Göldi (1782), the last person to be legally executed for witchcraft in Europe, and tracks her final route through the town of Glarus, Switzerland. In 2007, nearly three centuries after her death, the Swiss parliament acknowledged Göldi's case as a “miscarriage of justice” and exonerated her of criminal charges. The two filmmakers search for Göldi's presence, and record the varying ways that town residents recount her story today. Rather than presenting a chronological narrative of Göldi’s life, they collage varying and often divergent points of view together, employing gossip as a narrative device that can account for contradiction and fragmentation in the collective memory of the event. As they travel through the different layers of the region—from mountain tops to underground caves—they search for scars in the landscape and imagine how place might manifest an absence. Inserting their own bodies into this site, they attempt to physically carry her story through space and, in so doing ask, how the story of Göldi’s persecution haunts the present moment?


The Rebel Body is screening with support from Bamboat | Mitchell, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Film Credits
Editor: Katrin Ebersohn

Sound Design and Mix: Katrin Ebersohn
Composer: Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs