CINEMARX: Films about Marx from the GDR to the present day
Two centuries have passed since his birth in Trier, and in that time, Karl Marx has become part of a pantheon of major authors, creating some of the most read and discussed works of all time. His economic theories on the struggles of the proletariat working class and development of the fundamental ideas of communism have even received renewed interest in our modern age.
With the film series CINEMARX, the Goethe-Institute Washington examines Marx, exploring the environment under which his works were created, his followers and critics, and how his theories can be applied to the questions facing us today.
This event is part of the Goethe-Institut’s MarxNow programming, an international event series tied with the 200th birthday of Karl Marx, which seeks to revisit Marxism in the light of contemporary discussions.
Germany, France, Belgium 2011, 52 Min., Director: Jason Barker
Marx Reloaded is a cultural-economic documentary, which examines Karl Marx’s ideas and their relevance in understanding the global economic and financial crisis of 2008-2009. Both leading Marx experts and critics of the current Marx-Renaissance are interviewed for this documentary, which questions whether communism can provide solutions to the growing economic and environmental challenges facing the planet.
As director, producer, and writer of Marx Reloaded, Jason Barker, a professor and philosophy theorist, teams up with many of the most renowned philosophers of the day to create this intense, economic documentary intercut with animated parody of The Matrix film series.
Marx (Masters of Money)
United Kingdom, 2013, 30 Min., Director: Will Yearsley
Even today, Karl Marx’s ideas resonate with many people. In this documentary, BBC Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders travels from Marx’s birthplace to a former communist regime detention center in Berlin in order to separate his economic analysis from acts carried out in his name.
Created as a three-part series for BBC Two on economic thinkers Will Yearsley’s, Masters of Money looks at how the work of Keynes, Hayek, and Marx have affected the 20th century. This episode on Marx acted as the finale for the series.
Comrade, where are you today?
Germany, Finland 2008, 112 Min., Director: Kirsi Marie Liimatainen
In the 1980s, Kirsi Marie Liimatainen from Finland goes to the GDR to study the teachings of Marx and Lenin. There she went to school with like-minded people from more than 80 countries – students united in their hopes for a better world. However, just after finishing her schooling, the Berlin Wall comes down in fall 1989. Over twenty years later, Kirsi goes searching for her comrades from school.
Having received training as an actor in Finland and as a director in Germany, Kirsi Marie Liimatainen (b. 1968, Tampere) delves into her personal history, turning her attention to her year at the Jugendhochschule “Wilhelm Pieck” in Bogensee.
Free Lunch Society
Austria 2017, 95 Min., Director: Christian Tod
Universal Basic Income means money for everyone – a human right without trade-offs! A visionary reform project, a neo-liberal axe to the roots of the social state, or a socio-romantic leftist utopia? Free Lunch Society, as the first feature film in the world on the topic of Universal Basic Income, addresses one of the most significant questions of our time.
In creating this detailed film on the subject of Universal Basic Income, the Austrian economist Christian Tod (b. 1977, Linz) has become one of the strongest voices for this major economic reform.
Short Films from East Germany
GDR, 1988, 18 Min., Director: Helke Misselwitz, Color, Documentary
A moving short portrait of Karl Marx’s family and their living conditions during their time in London.
In the same year that she produced this short film for the DEFA studio’s experimental documentary “Kinobox” series, Helke Misselwitz (b. 1947, Zwickau) received notoriety for her full length documentary on women in the GDR, Winter Áde.
Dear Mohr – Personal Memories of Karl Marx from Paul Lafargue
(Lieber Mohr – Persönliche Erinnerungen an Karl Marx von Paul Lafargue)
GDR, 1972, ca. 20 Min., Director: Bruno J. Böttge, Color, Animation
The film shows a humorous take on moments from the life of Karl Marx over the course of a quarter century.
One of Germany’s foremost silhouette animators after Lotte Reiniger, Bruno J. Böttge (b. 1925) brings his talents to these historic figures in this film using hand-cut and painted elements.
GDR, 1982, 21 Min., Director: Uwe Belz, 21 Min., Color, Documentary
Citations from love letters and poems written between Karl Marx and his fiancée Jenny von Westphalen during their teenage years are combined with images, paintings, and beautiful, atmospheric landscapes of places connected to Marx.
Uwe Belz (b. 1937, Berlin) was one of the most productive East German filmmakers, creating more than 150 films in his lifetime. In this work, he draws his attention towards viewing Marx from an alternative perspective, showing the emotional and romantic sides of the historical figure.
A Young Man Named Engel – A Portrait in Letters
(Ein junger Mann namens Engels – Ein Porträt in Briefen)
GDR, 1970, ca. 20 Min., Director: Katja Georgi, Color, Animation
With the young Friedrich Engel’s letters and drawings from the years between 1838 and 1842, a unique cinematic portrait is created. The viewer thus gets to know the young Engels personally, learning about the significant moments of his development from a bourgeois-liberal upbringing to the theoretical partner of Karl Marx.
Focus is turned towards Engels in this animated film from Katja Georgi (b. 1928, Lengefeld), which would later be awarded the Gold Dove at the International Leipzig Documentary and Short Film Week.