Engineer Karl Hartmann has designed a monstrous strip mining machine. He initially refuses to build it, instead returning to his old home in the country for rest and recuperation. During a walk in the countryside, he finds a seam of lignite and tells his boss, who immediately makes plans to buy up the land. But two of the landowners resist his offer – Hartmann’s fiancée, a young noblewoman, and his grandmother, who runs a mill that has stood on the land for centuries. Meanwhile, Hartmann moves forward with the construction of his excavator … Set against the background of the Leuna Works complex and the coal fields of central Germany, first-time director Acház-Duisberg (son of the head of I.G. Farben), made an apologia for the age of the machine. The violent clash of rural idyll and industry, machinery and romanticism is matched by the cinematic collision of industrial reportage and melodrama. The aesthetics of this silent drama of the ecology are largely thanks to the influence of cinematographer Helmar Lerski. – Screening with the “machine music” composed at the time by Walter Gronostay and newly recorded in 2011, a piece for orchestra, sirens, voice chorus, and oxygen tanks.
89 min · Black/White · 35 mm
Heinrich GeorgeIwan Kowal SamborskiViola GardenIlse StobrawaGertrud ArnoldPaul BiensfeldtPaul HenckelsIlse Vigdor
Film Print: Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin