In the middle of an economic crisis, the workers are living in poverty and struggling to find a little happiness and get a warm meal. Mother Krause lives with her two grown-up children, as well as a shady “bed lodger” and his lover – a prostitute with a child – on just a few square metres. In next to no time, tensions build up, and soon crime is involved too. Mother Krausen’s painstakingly preserved order collapses. This story has lost hardly any of its relevance. In those days, columns of marching workers calling out “Join the ranks!” indicated a possible way out. But the older generation went to the dogs. The project came about in honour of Heinrich Zille, who had died only a short while before. He had described his “milyeu” in great detail – all that was lacking now was the film. It was shot by Phil Jutzi, who was advised by Kaethe Kollwitz, in the style and spirit of Soviet Russian cinema – the Soviet films being imported and loaned by Prometheus, the production company. Rejecting banal entertainment and commercial success, Jutzi relied on the power of insight. A classic of proletarian cinema – and a key work of the “red dream factory”.
Print courtesy of Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin
by Phil Jutzi
with Alexandra Schmitt, Holmes Zimmermann, Ilse Trautschold
Germany (through 1945) 1929