The lives of famous politicians are rarely the subject of a film, even though their decisions may have had a large influence on daily life, and in the case of wars even on death. Left-wing politicians are the favorites of film directors, not only because of their often interesting (creative and emotional) characters, but also in order to moderate and sometimes destroy the myth. Margarethe von Trotta has done justice to Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) in this film about her last twenty years. As a director she thank God refuses to take sides. Some knowledge concerning the historical backgrounds of the story will add to your enjoyment of the film. You might consider reading the friendly book "Gedenksteen voor Rosa" by the Flemish writer Achilles Mussche. Luxemburg was a legendary socialist leader with a revolutionary inclination. Just to give you a taste of the themes that await you: she recommends the political mass strike, an interesting idea which unfortunately can rarely be realized since the people themselves are the first victims. Although she originated from Poland, where she belonged to the upper middle class, she became a distinguished member of the powerful and massive German SPD workers-party. Later the Bolsheviks have presented her as one of their forerunners, but her ideas remain appreciated by social-democrats, since she never embraced dictatorship, and kept a critical distance towards Lenin. The film shows her life in the little biotope of all the contemporary party bosses and their families, among others Bebel, Kautsky, Karl Liebknecht, and Clara Zetkin, discussing society over a glass of good wine. Sometimes we see her association with the working class, during lectures and agitations. The film hints at her job as a productive journalist, and (being a versatile woman) her scientific ambitions. We get a taste of the puffed up ideological utopianism, which was so typical of a part of the intellectual middle-class social-democrats. Such extremist ideas blossomed naturally as a result of their permanent predicament of intimidation, persecution, imprisonment, and (for Luxemburg) exile, that was imposed by the corrupted state. unfulfilled personal ambitions are an additional cause. On the private level her intimate relationship with a Polish revolutionary is represented, as well as her final romance with a barely grown-up. In many ways her last final years lead to a climax. It was the period of the First World War, which in Germany had extreme consequences. During the war she was once again imprisoned for political reasons. Freedom has its limits even in capitalism. Then in 1918 after the defeat of Germany a proletarian revolution changed the empire into a republic. The socialist SPD played an eminent role in the upsurge, together with the left-wing secession USPD (a few years later they merged). Luxemburg (together with Liebknecht) had shifted to the extreme left-wing, into the sectarian Spartakus movement, with high ambitions. In word and deed she advocated that the social-democrats should cling to their newly conquered rule. In my opinion, and I am pretty knowledgeable on the subject, her plan would have created a civil war, which would have further aggravated the situation of the people. I would say that her final actions were highly questionable and perhaps irresponsible, however, some think otherwise, so judge for yourself. Anyway, she was freed, and in those first months of 1919 supported the armed resistance of workers, even when it continued after the successful proletarian revolution, mainly in Berlin. Finally she was arrested and shot on the spot by a Prussian Officer, together with Karl Liebknecht. On a higher level the social-democrat Noske, then minister in the social-democrat interim government, is commonly held accountable for these murders. The film gives an impressive overall description of the period, but you must appreciate the revolutionary atmosphere, caused by the persecutions and finally the horrid and superfluous war, otherwise the fierce dialogs and debates may deter you. Her premature death made her into a martyr, in the same league as Che Guevara. Like him, she must have been rather good-looking, more than the actress Barbara Sukowa, which also helps.
Biography / Drama / History / War
Biography / Drama / History / War
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...
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February 23, 2019 at 11:51 PM