October 24, 2008

Das Kapital: The Movie?

Karl Marx "'He's back,' the Times warned its readers on Tuesday over a portrait of Karl Marx. Not only are sales of his masterwork Das Kapital booming, but the virus of the newly fashionable revolutionary has, it seems, spread to the heart of the capitalist camp: the French president Nicolas Sarkozy has had himself photographed leafing through its pages while Marx's analysis of capitalism has been hailed by everyone from the German finance minister to the Pope." But for Daily readers, Seumas Milne skimmed over the newsiest item in the Times scare-piece: "And - are you ready? - director Alexander Kluge is making a movie out of Das Kapital."

Actually, that film has already been made, has screened in Vienna and will be out on DVD next month.

Updated through 10/28.

In Die Welt, Eckhard Fuhr, noting that Kluge is picking up on Sergei Eisenstein's never-realized plans, has a few details on the project: "We can expect a robust montage of conversations with the likes of Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Peter Sloterdijk, Dietmar Dath or Sophie Rois, clips of everyday life, reenactments starring Helge Schneider and much more."

Eisenstein und Marx im gleichen Haus (Eisenstein and Marx in the Same House) is the first of three parts of Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike (News from Ideological Antiquity), which premiered at the Stadtkino Wien on October 10 and will be released by Surkamp as a set of three DVDs with an essay by Kluge on November 17. All in all, an intriguing prospect, even if nowhere near as sensational as the Times would have its readers believe.

Update, 10/28:

Das Kapital Was Tun?

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Posted by dwhudson at October 24, 2008 6:19 AM


Holy cow... This could be the film event of a rather tepid year. Seriously.

Any word on whether the set will include English or French subtitles for the Deutsch-challenged among us?

Posted by: msic at October 24, 2008 9:55 AM

They might want to look at Latvian filmmaker Edvins Snore's doc The Soviet Story, which fingers old Charlie Marx as the villain who spawned Stalin. Can't say I agree, but....Ella Taylor

Posted by: ella taylor at October 24, 2008 10:05 AM

Hm, I don't see any indication on either Surkamp's or Kluge's site that there'll be subtitles in any language, sorry to say, Michael. And frankly, I'd be surprised. This project looks as limited in financial resources as it is far-reaching in intellectual scope. The still on Kluge's page for Nachrichten suggests it'll be aesthetically similar to Kluge's late night culture magazines for the RTL and SAT1 networks in Germany: rather spare.

Enjoyed your review in the Voice, Ella - a pointer's on the way in the next round of "Shorts."

Posted by: David Hudson at October 24, 2008 10:09 AM

The Deutsch-challenged among you won't be happy about this one either, but Stefan Grissemann had a long talk with Kluge about Kapital then and now: http://www.faz.net/s/Rub117C535CDF414415BB243B181B8B60AE/Doc~EC384B8D8AF904D4C9DF0826579341C9E~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html

Posted by: malt at October 24, 2008 3:14 PM