Young Karl Marx: Up the list!


Engels, Marx with Marx’s daughters

As the pilot would have said, we were cruising at 35000 ft above sea-level over the Atlantic, and just about 2 hours into the flight I was beaming in my seat, with goosebumps all over. Thanks to the movie protagonist reading out the opening lines from the most published work ever in the history of publishing, only after the Bible. The lines were spoken in German, but I knew the English lines even before the subtitles flashed on screen,  “A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism.”

The opening line of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels, were the climactic portion of the brilliant German movie Young Karl Marx. I had sought out this movie upon its release, to no avail. Serendipitous, it seems, that I found it on the German airlines Lufthansa’s entertainment system when flying into Germany.

A movie filled with dialectical materialism and heavy jargon related to the relations of means of production were dealt with a human touch, making it more accessible. The love between Marx and Jenny, Engels and Mary, Marx and Engels anchors the movie to the unmissable human side of this story of the Revolution of the masses . The antagonism, when exaggerated, between Marx and Proudhon is amusingly engaging. The moment when Marx’s Poverty of Philosophy is revealed to be his response to Proudhon’s Philosophy of Poverty caught me all giggling. I already thought it was one of the best take-downs just in the caption.

Also, in a scene midway in the movie when Marx and Engels grow to respect each other and form the bond that was to change the world, while being drunk, Marx recites one of his most famous lines or something to that effect: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.”   This scene pivots the rapport of these two great minds, making it most effective.

The role played by Jenny Marx and Mary in moulding and supporting Marx and Engels is also delicately handled with due credit to the rebellious women.

As the movie was called Young Karl Marx, I was wondering which portion of his life would seem befitting to be the climax. Unsurprising, yet pleasantly, it was publishing of the Communist Manifesto. To top it all, the end credits begin with Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone, and just like that the movie found itself into my perfect, favourite movies. 

Trailer of Young Karl Marx, the German movie.

And one of the best archives of Marxist ideas.

About Raghav/Raghu

A fortunate mass of hydrogen cloud conscious enough to be contemplating that very fact.
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