Kuhle Wampe – Censored!

(Ein Feigenblatt für Kuhle Wampe)

GDR, 1975, 63 min, B&W
In German; English subtitles
Credits:
Director
Script
Editor
Camera
Music (Score)
Narrator
Cast

Synopsis

A detailed reconstruction of the censorship case against the landmark Weimar-era communist film, Kuhle Wampe, or Who Owns the World? (1932). Directed by Slatan Dudow, the crew and cast included left-wing luminaries, such as playwright Bertolt Brecht, composer Hanns Eisler and balladeer Ernst Busch. The film was the subject of vehement disputes and was banned twice for revolutionary and communist tendencies that were perceived to threaten the state. About 230 meters of the original film fell victim to the censor’s shears.

 

This historic censorship case was argued over the course of three sessions.  Censored: Kuhle Wampe re-enacts the censorship hearings, based on original minutes and documents, as well as personal records of the case. In addition to footage from the original film, this docudrama includes original clips of Berlin in the 1920s and '30s and short testimonies, filmed in the 1970s, with some of the actors involved in the original Kuhle Wampe film production.

Press comments

“In this film we wanted to show how a proletarian film became the ‘content’ for a political debate about art.”
— Christa Mühl & Werner Hecht, Film und Fernsehen, May 1975

Availability

Special features:
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • Timeline of the Kuhle Wampe Censorship Case
  • Kuhle Wampe, Leftist Cinema, and the Politics of Film Censorship in Weimar Germany,” essay by Franz A. Birgel
  • Trailer: Kuhle Wampe, or Who Owns the World?

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