Rosa Luxemburg

This mid-80s German film tells the story of Rosa Luxemburg, a Pole who became a big activist for revolution in those heady early years of the twentieth century. As the First World War was about to start, Germany had elected the equivalent of our Labour Party in as a majority, but they did not have British Parliamentary powers. And they went along with the war. Rosa was notable for advocating against socialists and trade unionists supporting the war, but failed. Often held as a political prisoner (for “her own protection”), she set up Spartacus with fellow revolutionary, but they famously divided when he started a revolution in post-war Berlin when she judged working people were not ready. She joined in, but they were both arrested, clubbed and then shot, with her body thrown into a canal, days short of 100 years ago.
The movie plainly can’t afford to re-create scenes of mass crowds at rallies and in revolution. And the kinda BBC tv 70s drama style, where much of the action takes place whilst people are eating dinner at table, gives an unreal impression of who this organiser and activist must have been.
Subtitles and a foreign language diminishes the film’s impact, but I didn’t know enough of her story and realised it was meaning more to those behind me in the cinema, who were grunting with recognition at the various episodes.
(e:3; s:3; p:2)

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