16 / 11 / 02 – 15 / 12 / 02
Exhibition / Films / Talks / Performance

What Do Those Old Films Mean?
Each part 26 Min., Dir.: Noël Burch

Return to main: What Do Those Old Films Mean?

Vol. 1: Great Britain 1900-1912
Along the Great Divide

Vol. 4: France 1904-1912
The Enemy Below

Vol. 2: USA 1902-1914
Tomorrow the World

Vol. 5: USSR 1926-1930
Born Yesterday

Vol. 3: Denmark: 1910 – 1912
She! The City and The History

Vol. 6: Germany 1926-1932
Under Two Flags

K.P.D. – S.P.D.: Chronology of a Frantricide

Longstanding tensions between Social Democratic right and left exacerbated by right majority’s support for The Kaiser’s war.

Dissident minority forms Independent Socialist Party, joins with Spartacists led by Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht.

Armistice leads to fall of Empire. Radical workers would see Germany follow Soviet example. General strike. Street-fighting. S.P.D. premier Ebert plays decisive role in defeat of revolution and consolidation of bourgeois republic. Luxembourg and Liebknecht murdered by nationalist Freikorps.

Independent Socialists make electoral progress, become German Communist Parley (K.P.D.). National Socialist Party also formed.

S.P.D. participates in or supports governments whose acceptance of Allies’ war reparation claims infuriates right-wing nationalists; their acceding to big business demands exasperates working class.

Panicked by increasing strength of K.P.D., S.P.D. bans traditional May Day parades. Both left parties underestimate danger of Nazism. K.P.D. congress designates S.P.D. as ”Social Fascists”. Wall Street crash has devastating effect on German economy as U.S. investments are withdrawn.

Paralysed by their rivalry, K.P.D. and S.P.D. are powerless to prevent suspension of parliamentary democracy and ruling class manoeuvres that bring Hitler to power.

Prometheus or The Labours of Hercules
Embittered by their defeat of 1919, working class organisations for a long time regarded cinema as, by its very nature, a propaganda weapon of the bourgeoisie. As the post-war art films (e.g. Caligari, Nosferatu, Mabuse the Gambler) gave way to trivial comedies and ”historical” epics (e.g. the nationalistic Fredericus Rex series), their view seemed confirmed.

The law allowing only companies producing their own films to import foreign films was enacted in 1924. Since, of course, no working class organisation had its own film studio, that immediately ruled out all “working class” organisations as buyers of Russian workers’ films.