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Archive for July 12th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(Germany 1932 73m) DVD2 (Germany only, no Eng subs)

Aka. To Whom Does the World Belong; Whither Germany?

The Solidarity Song

p  Georg M.Hoellering, Robert Scharfenberg  d  Slatan Dudow  w  Bertolt Brecht, Ernst Ottwald  ph  Günther Krampf  ed  Peter Meyrowitz  m  Hanns Eisler  art  Carl P.Haacker, Robert Scharfenberg 

Hertha Thiele (Anni Bönike), Ernst Busch (Fritz), Martha Wolter (Gerda), Adolf Fischer (Kurt), Lila Schönborn (Frau Bönike), Max Sablotzki (Herr Bönike), Alfred Schaefer, 

In 1966 cine-historian Kevin Brownlow finally saw his long delayed debut film It Happened Here released three years after it was completed.  It detailed an alternate view of history, showing how Britain coped following the Nazi invasion.  It never happened, of course, but the premise of showing what might have been – a favourite parlour game of historical scholars – in a way only the cinema could, was fascinating.  Slatan Dodow’s 1932 propaganda film could not be more diametrically opposite in terms of its plotline or its messages.  It was made in 1932, the last full year of the Weimar Republic before the forbidding cloud of National Socialism reared its ugly head.  It gives an insight and a methodology whereby Germany – the alternative title asks where the country is headed – could proceed into the future but, as hindsight tells us, didn’t.

            The Bönike family live in a squalid tenement in Berlin in a period when German unemployment has doubled from 2½ million to over 5 million.  Their son has not worked in over seven months, and is accused by his father of being a wastrel who has not tried hard enough to find employment.  In a moment of utter despair, the son jumps from their fourth floor window to his death, and the resultant misery leads to the family being evicted from their home and sent to the eponymous camp, Kuhle Wampe, where thousands of dispossessed Berliners already congregate. (more…)

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