© Filmmuseum Berlin - Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek

Robert Siodmak: Menschen am Sonntag (D 1930)

Thursday, 7 December 2023, 18.00 Uhr
FilmBühne Caligari, Wiesbaden

In the summer of 1929, a group of young film enthusiasts is shooting a film on the streets of Berlin. They improvise the screenplay between takes at a coffeehouse table. Among these filmmakers, still relatively unknown at the time, are Robert and Curt Siodmak, Fred Zinnemann, and Billy Wilder. The film follows five young amateur actors from Berlin - Christl, Wolfgang, Annie, Brigitte, and Erwin - who plan a Sunday outing to the Wannsee lido. There, amidst the bustle of swimmers, there's a colorful mix of activities, including potato salad and hot sausages. A photographer captures snapshots for everyone, with cameo appearances by director Kurt Gerron and dancer Valeska Gert. The staging and documentary-style shots in this early example of an independent film come together as a modern snapshot: glimpses from the city train, a man enjoying the statue of the "Great Elector," pedestrians marching alongside a marching band. Still lifes of gravestones in a stone mason's workshop and neglected courtyards. The film's premiere on February 4, 1930, at the Union Theater UT Kurfürstendamm was a surprising success, marking the beginning of the young filmmakers' global careers.

The film was restored in 2014 by the Deutsche Kinemathek in collaboration with EYE Filminstituut Nederland. In 2021, commissioned by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Society Bielefeld, trombonist and composer Uwe Dierksen created new ensemble music for the film. This new score premiered on October 22, 2021, during the Film+MusikFest Bielefeld.