‘Time and space in the depiction of workers’ leisure in Mother Krause’s Journey to Happiness, People on Sunday and Kuhle Wampe’

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This article comparatively assesses the representation of workers’ leisure in Berlin in three significant examples of experimental German cinema from the late Weimar Republic: Mutter Krausens Fahrt ins Glück (Mother Krause’s Journey to Happiness, dir. Piel Jutzi, 1929), Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday, dir. Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, 1930), and Kuhle Wampe oder Wem gehört die Welt? (Kuhle Wampe or Who Owns the World?, dir. Slatan Dudow, 1932). There are distinct thematic and formal parallels between this set of nearly contemporaneous, generically hybrid films, and the article assesses the inter-related functions of time and space in the films’ depiction of leisure experiences in Berlin. Focal points include the depiction of urban space, especially the tenement block and the ‘semi-public’ space of the courtyard; the Freibad or lakeside bathing resort; the worker sports movement; and the comparative relevance of the work of the Berlin artist Heinrich Zille. The article approaches the films in the historical context of the workers’ movement and working-class culture, and is further informed by insights into urban space developed within the sociological discipline of leisure studies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Early online date12 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2020


  • : Weimar cinema; Menschen am Sonntag; Kuhle Wampe; Mutter Krausens Fahrt ins Glück; Bertolt Brecht; workers’ sport and leisure; Berlin

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