Kuhle Wampe oder Wem gehört die Welt?

Kuhle Wampe or Who Owns the World?
Kuhle Wampe is regarded a classic of proletarian film from the Weimar period.
This rather simple story is about a working class family in Berlin caught between unemployment and eviction. The family finds a new home in the Kuhle Wampe camp-site by Berlin's Mueggelsee lake, celebrates a noisy wedding, and sceptically awaits the new addition to the family.
While filming was still in progress, Prometheus (the production company) had to file for bankruptcy. The film was consequently completed by the Swiss film company Praesens. It was only after cuts had been made and public protests staged that the censors released the film. Even then, it was only shown for a limited period of time. In 1933, the film was banned by the National Socialists. The premiere in Moscow met with a muted response, because the social conflicts in Germany were too remote for Soviet audiences. Using montage techniques, which they had studied in films made by Mezhrabpom-Film, Dudow and Brecht created sharp contrasts. The film, containing songs by Hanns Eisler and vocals by Ernst Busch, attacked the idea that the world was unchangeable. The “Solidarity Song”, which was to become one of the classics of proletarian culture, could also be seen as a defining song of the “Red Dream Factory”.

Print courtesy of Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin
by Slatan Dudow
with Hertha Thiele, Ernst Busch, Martha Wolter
Germany (through 1945) / Switzerland 1932 71’