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Solange Leben in mir ist (1965)

The biography of the German socialistic politician Karl Liebknecht and his fight against World War I.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Horst Schulze ...
Lyudmila Kasyanova ...
Rita Krips ...
...
Frolow
Albert Hetterle ...
Paul Schreiner
Erika Dunkelmann ...
Milda Schreiner
Jutta Hoffmann ...
Käthe Schreiner
Stefan Lisewski ...
Werner Gutjahr
Albert Garbe ...
Albin Holzer
Fred Delmare ...
Waldemar Lehmann
Wolfgang Ostberg ...
Ernst Lemke
Hans Hardt-Hardtloff ...
Tischler
Mathilde Danegger ...
Frau des Tischlers
Horst-Tanu Margraf ...
Professor Wendler
...
Rosa Luxemburg (as Zofia Rysiowna)
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The biography of the German socialistic politician Karl Liebknecht and his fight against World War I.

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10 September 1965 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Amíg élek  »

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2.35 : 1
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Followed by Trotz alledem! (1972) See more »

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Warning: this film contains ideological propaganda
21 August 2010 | by (Netherlands, Utrecht) – See all my reviews

You will also find my second review for the film "Trotz alledem", which is the sequel to the present one. In fact, they form a whole, and Icestorm sells them together in a single box. Since the film originates from the famous DEFA studios in the Bolshevist GDR (East-Germany), it is interesting to analyze the diverging ideological perspective of the narrative. The German Bolsheviks saw Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919) as their forerunner, since later, in 1919, he participated in the formation of the German Bolshevist party (KPD). It was then that he became a martyr, which made him into their textbook example for the people: an attitude of revolutionary self-sacrifice and a willingness to exploit oneself. I wonder if the average American can understand this culture - and thus the film. The American culture is shaped by philosophers like Ayn Rand (Greenspan is one of her disciples) advocating the virtue of selfishness. Anyway, Karl Liebknecht was the son of the authoritative social-democrat (SPD) politician Wilhelm Liebknecht. The young Liebknecht followed in his fathers footsteps and became a member of the SPD-fraction in the Reichstag (parliament of the empire). There he belonged to the left-wing, together with others such as Franz Mehring, otto Ruehle, Georg Ledebour, Hugo Haase etc. The onset of the horrid First World War led to ever more vehement collisions between the left and right wings of the SPD, due to the disagreement concerning the consent to the war loans in the Reichstag. At this point (1914) the story of the film, recorded in black and white, begins. An obvious sign of propaganda is the first scene, where Liebknecht talks through the telephone with Wilhelm Pieck (the later president of the GDR), who was at the time (1914) an insignificant politician. He also meets a Russian comrade, who greets him on behalf of Lenin. In the SPD fraction room Liebknecht has violent disputes with the reformist wing with, among others, Scheidemann (later Reichskanzler=minister-president of the republic) and Ebert (later president of the republic). The reformists wanted to realize socialism by political means, without a revolution. Liebknecht preferred the agitation of the people by means of political mass strikes etc. Whereas the film portrays the reformist politicians in meeting-halls, Liebknecht is mostly shown among adoring common workers. This is probably a historic falsification. He belonged to the upper middle class, and must have spent most of his life in drawing-rooms, together with the other SPD bosses, discussing politics over a glass of good wine. The film even contains a scene, where a group of workman's wives visit the fraction in order to boo Scheidemann and Ebert for their professed support of the war. Just before the war the Socialist Internationale had mobilized the largest anti-war movement ever. However, as soon as the war declarations were exchanged, the ranks closed and national truces of God were arranged. In the Netherlands the justifying argument was that according to international law, a country is obliged to defend itself in order to be entitled to international military solidarity and support. Also it had dawned upon the social-democrats, that in comparison with foreign invaders the national bourgeoisie was the lesser evil. Liebknecht was the first in the fraction to vote against the continuation of the war loans (a historical fact). Several scenes depict credibly, how his family becomes the target of vindictive popular terror. After about a year, when the dead bodies piled up, the war had lost his glory, and around 1916 a sizable group of SPD politicians had joined Liebknecht. He also started the extreme left Spartakus group. This remained a sect, and after the inevitable party secession most of the left-wing SPD went into the new USPD (1917, see the sequel Trotz alledem!). Among congenials the film lets Liebknecht accuse the reformist SPD of betrayal of the people. The party conflict was undoubtedly serious, but here it seems to be rather puffed up for ideological reasons, as a metaphor of the Cold War hostility between the GDR and GRF (West-Germany). The Liebknecht character may be destined to portray the then revolutionary SED party, and Scheidemann/Ebert the then reformist SPD party. Some other scenes represent his conversations with Rosa Luxemburg (see the film by Von Trotta), who above all things looks at him with admiration. Women in the GDR were independent, but their liberation was not on top of the Bolshevist agenda. In may 1916 Liebknecht speechifies during a may 1st memorial mass meeting (with mass scenes in the film). At this meeting pamphlets are distributed with a text claiming that "the enemy comes from within (Germany)". This event is seized by the government in order to sentence him to four years stay in prison. Most GDR films are quite bearable, but in my opinion in spite of some good scenes the ideological propaganda tends to affect the films credibility.


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