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Kuhle Wampe or Who Owns the World? on Blu-ray/DVD and Digital in September

25 August 2022

Often described as the only communist film to come out of Weimar Germany, Kuhle Wampe, or Who Owns the World? [Kuhle Wampe oder: Wem gehört die Welt?] (1932) was a creative collaboration between Bertolt Brecht, Ernst Ottwald, Slatan Dudow, Hanns Eisler and Georg Höllering. With the UK’s current cost of living crisis making it a topical film for rediscovery in 2022, it has been newly restored in 2K by ARRI Media on behalf of the Deutsche Kinemath and is presented on Blu-ray and DVD by the BFI for the first time in the UK.

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.

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.

Conceived at the political and artistic watershed of the waning Weimar Republic, it was swiftly banned in 1933 as the Nazis took power and was rarely seen for many years.

Kuhle Wampe, or Who Owns the World? Blu-ray cover art

Kuhle Wampe, or Who Owns the World? will be released as a dual format edition (Blu-ray & DVD) by the BFI on 19 September 2022, and will be released simultaneously on Digital on iTunes and Amazon Prime.

Dual format features:

  • 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’s powerful documentary about slum housing
  • Eastern Valley (Donald Alexander, 1937, 17 mins): a documentary about a Welsh co-operative scheme run by unemployed miners
  • ***First pressing only*** Illustrated booklet with essays by Martin Koerber and Henry K Miller, an archival review by Jill Forbes (Monthly Film Bulletin, July 1978), notes on the special features and credits

Here's a clip: