Hope forms part of the genetic makeup of humanity. Hope is also part of evolution: it is part of the essence that bolsters the growth, progression, and development of plants, animals, and minerals. Scientists describe this process as ‘primeval trust’.

Wer immer hofft stirbt singend starts with an animation of kitschy drawings of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals together with images of the evolution of the human skull.

This is followed by the fictitious story of Antoine Bilot, a man who kept hoping – the epitome of the (Dutch) saying ‘as long as there is life, there is hope’. Billot, after all, survived a frontal train collision, a flood, and a fall from an airplane without a parachute (he landed on another parachutist’s chute).

This happy person, however, poised amidst chance and all the misfortunes that typify our condition, will– be it hoping and singing – go under just as well.

Wer immer hofft stirbt singend is a bagatelle bordering on the burlesque, in which Kluge combines (historical) visual material and nostalgic images of various disasters with very graphically elaborated title card texts. The somewhat awkward Mexican Banda music underlines the bittersweet character of the work.