Wronke Prison, 1916. Social democrat Rosa Luxemburg faces a mock execution. Twenty years earlier, Rosa's political gifts are acknowledged by everyone, as she struggles for democratic government in Germany and revolution in Poland. There she works closely with Leo Jogiches. Their political activity creates some difficulty for their personal relationship - As international tensions rise, Rosa makes speeches denouncing war and militarism. She seems too radical for her fellow Socialists. She meets Karl Liebknecht. When World War I begins, Rosa and Karl are united in opposition.Written by
Rainer Werner Fassbinder was planning to direct this in early 1983. Jane Fonda had already agreed to play the lead when Fassbinder suddenly died in June 1982. See more »
The historical Rosa Luxemburg was short (about five feet, 150 cm), had dark brown eyes and a pudgy face. In this film, she is played by Barbara Sukowa who is much taller (5 foot 5, 165 cm), has gray-green eyes and sharp features. See more »
Sonja, you are bitter about my long enprisonment and ask: "How is it that some people may decide the fate of others?". My dear, all history is based on people deciding the fate of others and that is deeply rooted in the conditions of our material existence. The only way to change this is by painful upheaval. You ask: "What is it all for?" "What for" conveys nothing about the totality of life and its many forms. Why do blue tits exist? I really have no idea but I'm glad they do ...
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A gem that needs to be preserved and should be remembered
Me and my partner were some of the few people fortunate enough to see this film as part of the Bird's Eye Film festival 2011 in London. The film isn't available to purchase on DVD with subtitles, so it is really just German speaking people who have access to it. This is a real shame as Rosa Luxemburg is a cinematic and historical gem.
Rosa Luxemburg is a true hero and a great thinker, who deserves a spotlight in the history of the early 20th century. Unfortunately she is too often forgotten and only the likes of Ernst and Marx are remembered. Here is someone who is really trying to change her fate and the fate of her sisters and brothers. All of this is beautifully brought to life by von Trotta in this film and many of Luxemburgs writings and speeches are used throughout. The performance by Barbara Sukowa as Rosa is amazing and she really merges with the character she portrays. I think this is a beautiful film and I would wish someone would give it a good makeover and preserve it for future generations. This is a film, which should not get lost - rather it should be remembered.
Unlike her male contemporaries, von Trotta's films are often hard to find and virtually unknown to most people - even those who have heard of her contemporaries like Schlöndorff, Fassbinder and Herzog. This is a mystery to me, as I have seen a number of her films and she manages time and time again to make raw, challenging and emotional films about history. At the end of the screening there was also an interview with von Trotta in which one could see her intelligence and passion for film. I am really looking forward to see her next film - a project on the philosopher Hannah Arendt.
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