Kuhle Wampe

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Kuhle Wampe oder: Wem gehört die Welt?
Directed bySlatan Dudow
Written byBertolt Brecht
Ernst Ottwalt
StarringSee below
Music byHanns Eisler
CinematographyGünther Krampf
Release date(s)
  • 14 May 1932 (1932-05-14)
Running timeUSA:71 minutes
CountryWeimar Republic
LanguageGerman
 
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Kuhle Wampe oder: Wem gehört die Welt?
Directed bySlatan Dudow
Written byBertolt Brecht
Ernst Ottwalt
StarringSee below
Music byHanns Eisler
CinematographyGünther Krampf
Release date(s)
  • 14 May 1932 (1932-05-14)
Running timeUSA:71 minutes
CountryWeimar Republic
LanguageGerman

Kuhle Wampe (full title: Kuhle Wampe, oder: Wem gehört die Welt?, released in English as Kuhle Wampe or Who Owns the World?) is a 1932 German feature film about unemployment and left wing politics in the Weimar Republic. The script was conceived and written by Bertolt Brecht. He also directed the concluding scene: a political debate between strangers on a train about the world coffee market. The rest of the film was directed by Slatan Dudow.

Kuhle Wampe itself was a tent camp on the Müggelsee in Berlin. Wampe is Berlin dialect for "belly", so the title could also be rendered "Empty (or 'cool') Belly".

The film was banned in 1932 under the accusation that it depicted the president, the legal system, and religion in a poor way, but due to protests the ban was lifted on a recut version. The film remained unseen for many years after the Second World War. However, a restored print is now available and a video was released by the British Film Institute in 1999, along with a documentary video essay on the original film by Andrew Hoellering, son of the film's producer Georg Hoellering.

Contents

Synopsis

Kuhle Wampe takes place in early-1930s Berlin. At the beginning of the film, an unemployed young man, brother of the protagonist Anni, throws himself from a window out of the despair that he had spent another day unsuccessfully seeking work. Shortly thereafter his family is evicted from their apartment. They move into a garden colony of sorts, with the name “Kuhle Wampe.”

Anni, the family’s daughter and the only family member who still has a job, becomes pregnant and engaged to her boyfriend, Fritz, who that very evening describes that their marriage was demanded of him because of her pregnancy. Anni leaves Fritz and moves to her friend Gerda’s apartment. She later takes place in a worker’s sporting event where she meets Fritz again, who has recently lost his work, and they reunite.

The climax of the film depicts their return home by train (a scene that Brecht wrote personally). Anni and Fritz as well as a handful of workers argue with middle-class and wealthy men and women over the Situation of the worldwide financial crisis. One of the workers notes that the well-off will not change the world in any case, to which one of the wealthy asks quizzically, “Who else, then, can change the world?” Gerda replies, “Those who don’t like it.”

The film ends with the singing of the Solidarity Song, with lyrics by Brecht and music from Hanns Eisler.

Cast

Video release

External links