If you want to understand something about Leninism, then the East-German "Aufbau" films provide keen insights. There are two types, portraying respectively the agricultural and industrial build-up. Build-up in the Leninist sense means a change of conscience. The surroundings can transform the economic man (Ayn Rand type) into the political man (in the Leninist jargon: the socialist personality). Eventually Disney World will materialize. Therefore the Aufbau films are always family chronicles. They cover the period between the onset of the new Leninist state and its completion. The first generation is still suspicious about the new system (except for the few enlightened party members, of course), but the following generations truly feel at home. This is the Leninist dream for you! Leninism is not a word, but a sentence. If you ponder about it, it actually makes sense! Give a Leninist an inch and he thinks he is a ruler. The series Die lange Strasse (the long road) is an industrial Aufbau story. Another one, and rather clumsy, is "Dolles Familien-album" (1969, see previous review). Die lange Strasse is from 1979, and more convincing and professionally made. Care is taken not to become (too) vulgar, and the worn-down Lenin citations are avoided. The narrative describes the extended Hollmann family, between 1950 and 1980. This family is mixed in many aspects. Some are common people, working men, but there is also a factory director and a party official. Nearly all live in East-Germany, but one sister resides in West-Berlin (the west zone). The hero of the film makers is Michael Hollmann, of course a laborer (good), without an interest in politics (bad). Say no to shampoo, demand real poo. Actually in the first episodes he has little faith in the new system. When on June 17 1953 the East-German workers revolt against the regime (in ex West-Germany this was called Day X, for unexplainable reasons), he even sympathizes with the demonstrators. Want a taste of Leninism? Bite Stalin. However, a tyre factory is built at his residence, and he gets a job and rises in the hierarchy. Joke: lost your guinea-pig? Look under our tyres! Gradually Michael integrates into the system. Example: Michaels' favorite leisure activity is building his own private summer house at the lake (bad). Unfortunately the parcel is needed for productive activities. So eventually he puts up with the yearly organized (collective!) trip to a union beach resort (good). At first it seemed schizophrenic, but now they enjoy. Food for cynics! Other example: most large state-owned companies formed militias. Michael, who had served in the Nazi's army, swears never to touch a gun again. But then in 1960 the regime erects the "anti-fascist" Berlin Wall. And when one of his colleagues is killed by illegal border trespassers, outside yes, Michael volunteers for his militia. Wear short sleeves, support your right to bare arms. Leninism plans to live forever - so far so good. The Hollmann children just accept their state. One (of the director!) becomes an officer in the army, and another a painter of impressive work scenes. A daughter who had defected to the west, where she was a sort of call girl, is repentant and returns. Yes, this is life as it was supposed to be. But it evidently is a lie. A decade later the people overthrow the decaying (Lenin would say: rotting) system. Capitalist karma runs over Leninist dogma. Ouch! Bow-wow! (Joke) End of a stupendous pastime. Gone crazy, back soon. Die lange Strasse shows what the Leninists had in mind, and how the reality is conveniently and aptly bent just to reconcile it with their ideology. That surreal experience makes the series worth watching, and even recommendable. Some philosophy on the screen can't hurt, unless you fall off. Note: the series is about eight hours in total.
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