Zeitprobleme. Wie der Arbeiter wohnt

Problems of Our Time. How the Worker Lives
This film, which is only twelve minutes long, shows the insurmountable contrasts in Berlin around 1930. The title is accentuated by the down-to-earth comment in the opening credits: “This film arose in the middle of reality”. It thematises the appalling living conditions in this city of over a million inhabitants – and the merciless activities undertaken by house owners against the poorest social strata. The camera perspectives of the film in the rear courtyards of the tenement blocks seem like small-scale cinematic experiments: the distribution of the light and shadows – from bright surfaces and dark brickwork – suggest the stylistic proximity of the Bauhaus. And the interiors of the workers' kitchens and stairwells reveal a very detailed realism. In its indictment of the social misery in the proletarian districts of Berlin, the film closely resembles many of the drawings done at the time by Heinrich Zille, who sympathised with the workers’ relief organisation Internationale Arbeiter-Hilfe (IAH) and Mezhrabpom-Film.

Print courtesy of Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin
by Slatan Dudow Germany (through 1945) 1930 17’