|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Production country:||Deutschland/Frankreich/Belgien 2016|
|Running time:||Approx. 118 min|
Paris in 1844: Just before the Industrial Revolution, 26-year-old Karl Marx (August Diehl) meets Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske). At first, Marx sees the young man as nothing more than the well-heeled son of a factory owner, and thus the embodiment of everything he's been fighting against - which ultimately brought him into exile in France with his wife Jenny (Vicky Krieps). But he soon realizes that he and Engels are on the same wavelength and have the same goal. The two men become more than friends, working out, with Jenny's help, those writings that are to ignite a great revolution among the working class. But as good as they are at getting their thoughts down on paper, it is then difficult to get them out to the people and unite the working class movement behind them.
The Young Karl Marx is an interesting history lesson that not only traces the difficult journey of two men whose writings have had a lasting impact on society, but also reveals how relevant their theses still are over 150 years later. At the same time, it's also a film that highlights the important role played by Jenny Marx, who often disappears into the shadows of the two men, adding an extra layer of meaning to the proceedings. Director Raoul Peck has tried to stage the whole thing as authentically as possible, while also employing a contemporary narrative style to keep it from seeming too dry. For the most part, he has succeeded in this, even if the film can't quite rid itself of a few lengths and unwieldy, overhead moments.
Visually appealingly realized and convincingly acted by the three leads in particular, The Young Karl Marx tries to be as value-free as possible. The film is not intended to be a heroic epic, but should leave it largely to the viewers to form their own opinions, especially about the clear connections to the present - not for nothing did Marx's likeness adorn quite a few covers of numerous magazines worldwide during the financial crisis. Nevertheless, the character sketch is already quite clearly laid out. The opponents of Marx and Engels are very dogged, unsympathetic characters, and one is positively delighted when they fail miserably in their attempts to silence the two men.
By focusing on a relatively short period in Karl Marx's life, Peck is able to take a fairly comprehensive look at these events - something that many biopics that illuminate the entire life of a well-known figure fail to do. This makes the story relatively gripping, even if there are the aforementioned lengths and unwieldy moments. If you're interested in the 19th century labor movement and the beginnings of Karl Marx, you're in for a well-crafted and convincingly acted historical drama that, despite some weaknesses, clearly still deserves a worthy watch.
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp