Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mutter Krausens Fahrt ins Glück

[the film was not released in Finland] [Äiti Krausen matka onneen] / Mamma Krause far till lyckans land / Mother Krause's Journey to Happiness. DE 1929. PC: Prometheus Film-Verleih und Vertrieb GmbH (Berlin). P: Willi Münzenberg. Protektorat: Käthe Kollwitz; Hans Baluschek; Otto Nagel. D+DP: Phil Jutzi. SC: Willy Döll; Jan Fethke - contribution: Otto Nagel - based on stories by Heinrich Zille - and an account of these stories by Otto Nagel. AD: Robert Scharfenberg; Carl Haacker. M for a live cinema orchestra: Paul Dessau. LOC: Wedding (Berlin). CAST: Alexandra Schmitt (Mutter Krause), Holmes Zimmermann (her son Paul Krause), Ilse Trautschold (her daughter Erna Krause), Gerhard Bienert (Schlafbursche), Vera Sacharowa (Friede, a streetwalker), Friedrich Gnaß (construction worker Max), Fee Wachsmuth (a child).  Original length 3297 m. Current German length 2846 m /24 fps/ 104 min. - A print from Svenska Filminstitutet / Filmarkivet, 2864 m /24 fps/ 106 min with e-subtitles in Finnish by Lena Talvio viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (History of the Cinema), 7 Dec 2010.

Revisited Phil Jutzi's masterpiece of naturalism, Neue Sachlichkeit, and social realism. It was also included in Pordenone's Canon Revisited this year, but we had made our selection to our ongoing History of the Cinema series independently. The film is much stronger than I remembered: rich in observation, expressive and inventive in its cinematography, and with growing value as a document of its time. The film is a combination of a political story, a love story and a crime story with a Kammerspiel tragedy. As a student in Berlin I was still able to visit those old backyards (Hinterhöfe) in Wedding, and I also visited a cinema called Alhambra, but I don't know whether it was the same one as the one where Mutter Krause had its premiere. Mother Krause is a decent German woman whose heart is broken by what happens to her children. Alexandra Schmitt' performance is unforgettable. "Einen Menschen kann man mit einer Wohnung genau so wohl töten wie mit einem Axt" ("You can kill a man as easily with an apartment as with an axe") said Heinrich Zille. "Schuld hat doch nicht das Mädchen sondern das Milljöh" ("Don't blame the girl but the milieu") is the advice of a politically active friend to Max who has learned about Erna. The visual quality is largely fine; there are variations but not annoyingly often.

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