A story about a man and his journey, but at the same time about the escape from death, that turns into a quest. The film uses as lot of symbolism and archetypical characters such as 'the fool', 'the girl' and 'the artist' (the creator). After a light and simple start the film escalates and eventually literally transforms into a caricature: Elckerlyc (Everyman) with a donkey as a load on his shoulders.
While others were trying to steers is Mariken van Nieuwmeghen in the right direction on the editing table, Jos Stelling himself had nearly finished yet another baroque medieval theme. Elckerlyc is about a man who, as his name indicates, could be any man, and whose life’s journey is determined by the image of an irrevocable death. This figure with a donkey on his back became an unforgettable image. Once again this was a film by an energetic amateur (= enthusiast) pur sang, who with unlimited guts, didn’t take the slightest notice of the prescribed laws of a normal film narrative. According to some critics, this time Stelling had succeeded in keeping some measure of control over his second film, but others missed the impetuous strength of Mariken. Once again the film drew attracted more foreign than national interest. Stelling was considered a new cult filmmaker with his two medieval excesses.
From the Dutch Film Encyclopedia: "Another uncannily beautiful, stunningly stubborn version of a medieval morality play. The miracle of Elckerlyc is that a film maker with this much flair is not scared of filming a vision instead of a standard drama or story. The donkey-carrying Elckerlyc, who plays god by killing other people, becomes in Stelling's sparkling film a Kafkaesque modern man."
Elckerlyc George Bruens
Director Jos Stelling