Contrast And Contradiction Between Industry And Nature
From time to time, some rare silent films are unearthed from some hidden vaults. Thus regained, German silent counts get the exclusive chance to watch again such forgotten pictures from the past and finally give them a second chance to be reviewed after so many years in oblivion.
And this is what certainly happened with "Sprenggbagger 1010" (1929), an absolutely unknown German silent film that has many peculiarities and virtues which make it, much to this Herr Graf surprise, a particular and rare Teutonic picture.
The film was directed by Herr Carl-Ludwig Achaz-Duisberg and it was the only one. He was the son of the important German industrialist Herr Friedrich Carl Duisberg and certainly pappa's business notoriously influenced his son in the subject of his unique film.
Because "Sprenggbagger 1010" is a powerful industrial picture in one of those oeuvres that Germans pioneered and liked so much during the 20's, this Herr Graf could say about this that it is part of an exclusive German film genre.
The industrial aesthetics can be seen from the beginning of the film where powerful machine images ( pistons, sirens, fire and steel ) are at full display as is industrial activity in a lignite opencast mine. The main subject of the picture is the project of a new power shovel.
The frantic images of machines and industrial activity are in contrast and contradiction with the surroundings where the lignite opencast mine is settled. The area is a bucolic Teutonic place that can be destroyed due to the yearning of the lignite company businessmen to expand beyond the limits of the opencast mine and test the new power shovel in such virginal nature.
In these modern times, there are big concerns about nature and sustainable development, certainly "Sprenggbagger 1010" is absolutely modern and ahead of its time. By focusing on these contemporary subjects, it is a very bold film bearing in mind that in the 30's ( the film was one of the last silent pictures made in Germany ) ecology wasn't a big concern. German people desperately were looking for any job in a country with enormous inflation and millions of unemployed.
So, the contrast and contradiction between industry and nature made this film very modern in concept and pioneering in tackling such an important subject. So, accordingly, both opposed sceneries are depicted in the film. They are two different landscapes and way of living that can't exist side by side.
But there is something that both contradictory sceneries share and it is the reminiscences of soviet stylish silent film in which Herr Achaz-Duisberg was inspired. Although the industrial images of Russian films don't differ very much from the German films of the same period, the exaltation of nature than can be seen in "Sprenggbagger 1010". These have a reliable source. The patriotic silent films of many U.S.S.R. masters, inspired Herr Achaz-Duisberg only in the aesthetics and not in the political message, certainly, as can be seen in the careful depiction of the life in the country, the idealized nature sequences or the characteristic close-up of peasants. This achieves a bizarre Teutonic-stylish-soviet film.
Accordingly, in such different places, lives two fraulein opponents. In the lignite opencast mine works Frau Olga ( Frau Viola Garden can you believe that??!! ) workmate of the engineer Hartmann ( Herr I. Kowal-Samborski ). And Frau Camilla ( Frau Ilse Strabowa ), lives in the engineer's hometown that will be menaced by the lignite company, a girlhood friend of Hartmann.
Both girls share, besides an special interest for the engineer, an androgynous look in accordance with such modernen times ( a terrible influence that persists even today ) That will change during their fight to gain the favours of Herr Hartmann as both recover their femininity and certain womanly roles. Certainly for the character of Frau Olga, an independent, modern and working girl, that's not her cup of tea.
Accompanying this fascinating display of the contrast of industrial activity and bucolic nature, there is a brilliant and original score composed for the film by Her Walter Gronostay that miraculously was preserved in the Academy of Arts in Berlin. It's a magnificent and experimental score that achieves the mood of the scenery and, a brilliant and modernen score, ja wohl!.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count have a meeting with those unscrupulous mine businessmen.
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