In 1896 Hamburg, work on the docks is hard and labour unrest is brewing. Management is deaf to demands for higher pay. The dockworkers hold meetings; the situation reaches a boiling point. With the union agreeing to lend support, they call a strike. One of the movement’s organisers is particularly hard hit. He lives in a garret in the Gängeviertel, a neighbourhood of alleyways, with his bedridden wife, elderly mother, and small daughter. On Christmas Eve, he is arrested and roughly hauled to the police station, where he faces off against his brother – a police sergeant and representative of the class enemy, whom he recently kicked out of his home ... Made on the eve of the global economic crisis, Werner Hochbaum’s look back at the failed Hamburg dockworkers’ strike is a reminder of the achievements in social welfare that the trade unions and social democracy brought about in the Weimar Republic. This film, Hochbaum’s feature debut, received support from both the unions and the Social Democratic Party. Its documentary passages provide authenticity and at the end – just as on the Battleship Potemkin – a colourised red flag fluttering in the wind sends the message “For ’a that!”
76 min · Black/White · 35 mm
Gyula BaloghErna SchumacherIlse Berger
Werner Hochbaum-FilmproduktionHamburg, Germany
With the participation of dockworkers and wives, children, and other everyday people.
Film Print: Svenska Filminstitutet, Stockholm