Eisenstein-Joyce

Eisenstein, so Kluge’s film tells us, came to Paris in November 1928 to see James Joyce, by then almost blind. The two spoke of the possibility of filming Ulysses. Later, Eisenstein would write in his diary that his other project, filming Marx’s Das Kapital, might copy Joyce’s model of a day-in-the-life story, only this time present an evening in the life of a labourer’s wife, a snapshot through which the entire set of social and historical conditions would be refracted. We then see Kluge and others reading passages from the Marx-Engels-Werke, interspersed with striking images of capitalist production. One scene in a car factory shows a large digital sign suspended above the production line which reads ‘Ought/Is’ (Soll/Ist); the digits show the production target alongside the actual number of cars produced. Composer Wolfgang Rihm provides the accompaniment. There follows a tragi-comic scene of 2 Stasi members trying to get their heads round what “communism=electrification+soviets” might mean, the viewer clearly meant to see the ridiculousness of Stalinist ideology. 1 hour down, 11 to go.