At the height of the Depression, Anni (Herta Thiele, Mädchen in Uniform) and her family are evicted from their Berlin apartment and forced to move in with her boyfriend, Fritz, at Kuhle Wampe, a lakeside camp on the outskirts of Berlin that now accommodates the ever-growing numbers of the dispossessed.
Often described as the only communist film to come out of Germany, Kuhle Wampe was a creative collaboration between Bertolt Brecht, Ernst Ottwalt, Slatan Dudow, Hanns Eisler and Georg Höllering. Conceived at the political and artistic watershed of the waning Weimar Republic, it was swiftly banned in 1933 as the Nazi’s took power.
Exquisitely photographed by Günther Krampf (Nosferatu), this semi-documentary combines inspired montage sequences with intimate realist and comic scenes of Anni’s family life, driven along by Hanns Eisler’s celebrated score. Newly restored in 2K by ARRI Media on behalf of the Deutsche Kinemathek, Kuhle Wampe is presented on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in the UK.
Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
Newly commissioned commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin (2022)
Introduction and Q&A by Andrew Hoellering (1999, 36 mins + 14 mins): the writer discusses his father’s work on Kuhle Wampe
Bread (1934, 12 mins): a short political film made in protest against social inequality, poverty and unemployment
Beyond This Open Road (1934, 11 mins): modernist short by B Vivian Braun and Irene Nicholson, with poetic images of workers’ leisure time
Housing Problems (1935, 16 mins): Arthur Elton and Edgar Anstey powerful documentary about slum housing
Eastern Valley (Donald Alexander, 1937, 17 mins): a documentary about a Welsh co-operative scheme run by unemployed miners