This is an unusual film. This is a German film of a Russian play by Maxim Gorky a play better known by the name "Summerfolk" written in 1903.
The unusual bit is that few West German filmmakers would venture to adapt Leftist literature in 1975 and this film was one such rare venture.
Even the IMDB does not list the writing credit as that of Gorky. It mentions the name Botho Strauss who adapted the play for the screen. If you are familiar with German cinema of the Seventies, this film brings together a delightful ensemble of the finest actors of the decade led by Bruno Ganz and Jutta Lampe.
I saw this film in New Delhi in the late Seventies and one aspect of this film stands out to this day in my mind--the camerawork of Michael Ballhaus. Ballhaus had not yet worked for Coppolla then. I was stunned by the depth of focus and clarity of the film that almost appeared as three dimensional on a flat screen.
The film is a gem for those who can appreciate good plays, literature and cinema. The performances are fascinating. The film was made when German cinema was at its peak with Fassbinder, Syberberg, Wenders, Hauff, Herzog, Schlondorff and von Trotta were all making formidable cinema. This nugget was lost in the wave of great German films. Chances are that few saw the film because Leftist themes were not popular, and even if you were a Gorky fan die hard theatre enthusiasts prefer theatre to cinema and are suspicious of adaptations.
I would recommend this film any day to lovers of theater and those who appreciate fine cinema.
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