September October


Truth, Reality, Representation

Sie dienen Allah und den Deutschen
Michael Brückner / Peter Heller, BRD 1973, 25 min. OF, 16mm 

Die industrielle Reservearmee
Helma Sanders-Brahms, BRD 1971, 36 min., OF 

Ich war Fremd
Fritz Fischer / Lado Pavlik, BRD 1970, 5 min., OF, 16mm

Dokumentarisch = Dokument?
Fritz Fischer / Lado Pavlik, BRD 1974, 17 min. OF, 16mm

Why does a Hessian iron foundry build a mosque for its Muslim workers? Sie dienen Allah und den Deutschen (They Serve Allah and the Germans) shows how one company management tries to use religion as an instrument of conformity. The film’s commitment to better working conditions appears as an authoritative voiceover. Dokumentarisch = Dokument (?) (Documentary = Document (?)) shows how such a narrative is constructed cinematically. Two reports on the housing situation of Turkish workers are juxtaposed, both cut from the same raw material. Like recorded evidence, the film strings together circumstantial proof for two completely different claims. In Die industrielle Reservearmee (The Industrial Reserve Army), skepticism gives way to argumentative conviction. Armed with quotations from Marx and Engels, the film agitates for a class struggle that unites German and foreign workers. The title of the film hails from Marxist economic theory and refers to the societal “class below the lower class” that can be called upon when workers refuse to work; or, to state it more drastically: “For the company owner, a guest worker is more convenient than a slave. He can replace him at any time, with the same dependence.”  Finally, Ich war fremd (I Was a Stranger) avoids a didactic stance entirely as rapidly edited scenes of a construction site are interrupted by feverish image-sound montages all ending in a microdrama. (KA)

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