News From Ideological Antiquity –Marx/Eisenstein/The Kapital
Germany 2008, 570 min., documentary / essay anthology film, German (with English subtitles)
Writer/Director: Alexander Kluge, Cinematography: Michael Christ, Erich Harandt, Werner Lüring, Claudia Marcell, Heribert Kansy, Thomas Mauch, Thomas Willke, Walter Lennertz, Editor: Kajetan Forstner, Andreas Kern
Over the course of 570 minutes (three DVDs), Alexander Kluge works his way through the “ideological antiquity”, inspired by Sergei Eisenstein’s unfulfilled plan to film Marx’s “Das Kapital“. Eisenstein’s art of montage and Marx’s critique of the trade in commodities are fundamental bases of modernity – yet we have lost touch with modernity just as we have lost touch with antiquity. What can Marx and Eisenstein tell us about our current cultural and social production, Kluge wonders, but because it’s Kluge asking, there are many answers and even more new questions.
DVD 1 presents extracts from Eisenstein’s working notes, Marx’s texts are read, sung and staged, and intellectuals such as German authors Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Dietmar Dath discuss their relationship with money.
DVD 2 focuses on Marx’s notion of commodity fetishism. Philosophers Peter Sloterdijk and Oskar Negt as well as others reflect on the magic power that commodities have over us.
DVD 3 concentrates on the “paradoxes of exchange society“. Is Karl Marx the Darwin of political economy? Poet Durs Grünbein comments on Brecht’s rendering of “The Communist Manifesto” in hexameter verse and musician and entertainer Helge Schneider plays the role of a reading worker. Kluge alternates these with apocryphal film scenes from the ideological antiquity, such as the industrial opera “Machinist Hopkins” from 1929.
Bonus material includes the new Kluge essay “Geschichten für Marx-Interessierte” (“Stories for Marx Readers”).
Source: Goethe-Institut Filmkatalog