Paradoxes

News from the Great War 1914–1918

Prof. Dr. Bernd Hüppauf © Hüppauf/Transcript used with permission

Sequence: Jerusalem 1917 (Hannelore Hoger, 2:54) from a film-program directed by Alexander Kluge

Commissioned by the Goethe Institut Paris, the film shows largely unknown scenes. We see the author’s maternal and paternal uncles, both of whom were killed in the first days of the war. American soldiers facing poison gas for the first time. Zeppelins flying over London. French supply troups on donkeys enroute to the inferno of Verdun. German emissaries in Kabul, hoping to forge an alliance with the Emir to decide the war in India. The end then comes, in 1918, from the direction of Saloniki, from the Balkans – a region of little interest to the military powers, but where the war had its macabre origin.

Featuring Hannelore Hoger as Countess Ziegenhahn, director of a German military hospital in Jerusalem in 1917, Helge Schneider as Cavalry Captain Wronski on November 9, 1918, taxi dancer at the Hotel Adlon. With contributions by historians Christopher Clark and Gerd Krumeich whose recent publications shed new light on the Great War – this “laboratory of bitter experiences.”

One hundred years after its outbreak, the Great War turns out to be strangely topical.

A film in 33 sequences. Featuring lots of music. Running time: 94 minutes.

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