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Underworlds: or Death and Resurrection of the Child-God Soma (2010)

This documentary film searches for answers to these questions: Is Europe undermined by miles and miles of tunnel systems, dating back thousands of years, as some scientists believe ? Or do these earth caves date from the Middle Ages ? Were they empty tombs for the souls of the dead, and eventually forbidden by the church ? How did this idea of a "soul" that is saved in an afterlife come about in the first place, and how was it utilized to increase the power and riches of the priests ?


In the ancient Indian Rigveda (1500 BC) some gods reflect certain stages of early infancy. Soma is a nursing baby about 6 months old. This phase of being breastfed must end at some point. Mythically speaking, this means that Soma must die to be resurrected as Indra, who represents the period of infancy between 6 and 18 months. This drama of being weaned was rewritten over the course of the following centuries by the caste of priests: Soma was no longer resurrected as Indra, but as himself, as King Soma, more powerful than any human king.


A film based on the themes of the essay   King Soma…  in the book  Herrscherkult und Heilserwartung , ed. by Jan Assmann and Harald Strohm, Munich, 2010.


Film locations: Austria, Germany, Spain, Turkey, India.


Underworlds: or Death and Resurrection of the Child-God Soma (2010)

  • Duration: 43 minutes

    • Directed by Petrus van der Let 


    • Produced by Petrus van der Let Filmproduktion in cooperation with ORF, PLANET-TV, Filmfund Styria.


    • Camera by enjamin Epp, Walter Wehmeyer, and John Wood
  • Where to Rent/Buy

  • Festivals

    • Festival Internazionale del Film Archeologico di Rovereto, Italy (October 2011)
    • MEDIMED Sitges, Spain (October 2011)
  • Mini-Series

    1. "Gods with Pointed Caps",
    2. "Punch and Prophecy",
    3. "Journey to the Cradle of Europe",
    4. "Dragon Slayers", and
    5. "Underworlds" form a 5-part series on the origin of myths and religions in infant perception.
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