Kurt Maetzig

Kurt Maetzig – Das Kaninchen bin ich AKA The Rabbit is Me [+Extras] (1965)

This East German film about corruption in high places, and self-serving party officials, and abuse of power, was withheld from release from its completion in 1965 until 1990, shortly before the Berlin wall went down and the reunification process began.

A young woman’s (Angelika Waller) idyllic world collapses with a bang when her brother is arrested for propagandizing against the Party. She unexpectedly falls in love with a man (Alfred Müller) who turns out to be the judge responsible for her brother’s troubles. Faced with an impossible dilemma the woman begins to see the world around her differently. Read More »

Kurt Maetzig – Der Rat der Götter AKA Council of the Gods (1950)

1933, the bosses of a large German chemical concern pave the way for Hitler’s rise to power: Thus begins the story line of the feature film Der Rat der Götter (The Council of the Gods), which deals with the history of I.G. Farben. The film adheres throughout to the Communist theory of fascism. Hitler is largely unidimensional: a creature of capital. Thus the story continues: While the directors assist Germany’s military buildup, they continue to cultivate their business dealings with the U.S. company Standard Oil in order to have joint control of the world market. Read More »

Kurt Maetzig – Der Rat der Götter AKA Council of the Gods (1950)

1933, the bosses of a large German chemical concern pave the way for Hitler’s rise to power: Thus begins the story line of the feature film Der Rat der Götter (The Council of the Gods), which deals with the history of I.G. Farben. The film adheres throughout to the Communist theory of fascism. Hitler is largely unidimensional: a creature of capital. Thus the story continues: While the directors assist Germany’s military buildup, they continue to cultivate their business dealings with the U.S. company Standard Oil in order to have joint control of the world market. Some directors now carve out careers with the Nazis, while the engineer Dr. Scholz, who comes from a working-class family, has nothing but scientific progress in mind. Read More »

Kurt Maetzig – Ernst Thälmann – Sohn seiner Klasse AKA Ernst Thälmann – Son of the Working Class (1954)

This historical-biographical film begins in the first days of November 1918 on the western front. News comes to the soldiers of a revolutionary uprising in Kiel. Young Thälmann, a soldier against his will, would like to join the expanding conflict on the side of his comrades in Hamburg. As the revolution becomes threatened by the betrayal of the right-wing Social Democrats and the splintering of the working class, he nevertheless tries unremittingly to unite the workers. The reactionaries grow ever stronger and the neediness of ordinary people multiplies. In this dire situation, the Hamburg police commissioner would like to block the unloading of a ship full of provisions that were sent from Petrograd as a message of solidarity. But Thälmann prevails in unloading it. The high point and conclusion of the first part of the Thälmann films is established at the Hamburg Uprising in October 1923. Read More »

Kurt Maetzig – Ernst Thälmann – Führer seiner Klasse AKA Ernst Thälmann – Leader of the Working Class (1955)

The second part of the Ernst Thaelmann films encompasses the time period between 1930 and Thaelmann’s murder in 1944. It shows Thaelmann’s battle to achieve a united front with all German workers against the National Socialists, his arrest following Hitler’s seizure of power and the eleven years of his incarceration, in which he unwaveringly clings to his beliefs until his death. An attempt to free him on the part of his comrades ends disastrously, and a corrupt offer of freedom from Goering himself receives Thaelmann’s refusal. Read More »