Jenny Marx, The Devil’s Wife
France 1993, 90 min., feature film, French (with English subtitles)
Writer/Director: Michel Wyn, Production: Telescope Audiovisuel, Starring: Marie-Christine Barrault, Carlo Brandt
He is world-famous and the image that best characterizes him is recognized worldwide; he wears a monocle, is elegantly dressed, loves children, and even lets them playfully tug on his beard. A jovial, yet impulsive man who loves cigars, good wine, and most of all, his wife. However, others viewed, and still view him as a devil, whose theories, and their implementation – for example in the Soviet Union – changed the world.
But who was the woman who lived in his shadow? Few know just how extraordinary the aristocratic Jenny von Westphalen was; beautiful, analytical, and of strong character. Karl and Jenny met in their youth in Trier and remained inseparable, finally marrying following their secret seven-year engagement. The Baroness would follow her husband through “thick and thin,” even so far as into exile In France, Belgium and England; enduring the stress of raising the couple’s ever-growing family with little or no money.
Similarly challenging was the radical nature of her husband's work – tirelessly writing articles and books with Friedrich Engels, and endless confrontation with political opponents. The importance of Jenny’s role as confidante, secretary and even co-author of certain texts is often greatly underestimated. Wyn’s film presents a new opportunity to re-discover the extraordinary romance and life's work of Jenny Marx.