Mutter Krausens Fahrt ins Glück (1929) Poster

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A modern silent film
AugusteB26 December 2004
A masterpiece about a working-class family in the late twenties in Berlin. You see Mutter Krauses fight for survival shown in such a modern way that you feel close even if it is nearly ninety years away. The way the camera (operated by the director himself) films the scenes and sometimes just the everyday life on the streets of Berlin is so energetic and real. The actors are playing very physical and natural (which was surprising for me as i expected acting in silent movies as much more stiff and awkward). All characters are very pure and just like in a documentary. Ilse Trautschold as the daughter is unforgettable. Whenever you get the chance to see this film go and watch it. Faßbinder once said it was his favorite film.
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Not my journey to happiness
Warning: Spoilers
"Mutter Krausens Fahrt ins Glück" is a German black-and-white silent movie from 1929, so only 12 more years now and this one will have its 100th anniversary. It is one of the more known works by director Piel/Phil Jutzi and same can probably also say about the trio who wrote this one. The original idea is by Heinrich Zille though and he is as of today probably also the most known person attached to this Berlin-set film. According to IMDb, there are quite a few versions out there. Some run exactly two hours, others a couple minutes shorter or longer. The one I watched, apparently a television cut for ZDF, only runs for roughly 100 minutes though. The cast here is not really well-known, at least not to me and I have seen many other silent films from Germany from that era too. Title character is played by Alexandra Schmitt and I guess Alexandra must have been a pretty unusual first name for that era as it sounds relatively modern, even today.

Anyway, about the story here, the title is definitely very ironic and sarcastic looking at what happens at the very end. But this ending also makes me question how likable the main character really is. Sure she decides to do something good that she sees as good, but it's really very cruel and egoistic to be honest. In addition, it needs to be said that the world she criticizes as cruel and why it seems like that to her has mostly to do with the fact what her son has done previously. So he is somewhat the main antagonist here, even if he is also a victim of the entire situation I guess. Overall, this is the story of one child finding happiness and the other finding tragedy and pulling his mother into that as well. Oh yeah and this is also a bit of a propaganda movie, only supporting the other political spectrum compared to movies from 5 or 10 years later. It was nice to hear the Internationale as always, but this is not really to be said in favor as the audio was of course added later and has nothing to do with the entirely silent original movie. What has something to do with it is once again the fact that more intertitles were needed to have the audience understand core developments of the plot to be honest. A common problem back then. And a negative deal breaker. Even if this film may have inspired Fassbinder, I give it a thumbs-down. Not recommended.
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