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The Power of the Worker


January 30, 2022 by hollingsworthk

This clip from the opening of Kuhle Wampe shows groups of workers biking across the city of Berlin in search of work. At the time, unemployment was a ubiquitous issue, but despite the troubled times, everyone is still sticking together. The low angle, close up shots of the bicycles shows some of their mechanics, a visual reference to the machinery that many of these men worked on before losing their jobs. Cutting upwards to the men on the bikes, we see their stern but slightly disheartened faces. They are still trying to provide for their families, but it is becoming harder and harder with each passing day. This scene is establishing that the workers are a united group, and they are all struggling together. As they arrive at job locations and get turned away, they push on to the next location no matter what. This scene showcases the resilience of the worker, how much they can take before they break. Even during global economic depressions, as is the case with this movie, they do whatever it takes and always stick together. This unity is central to the movie and by setting it up in this scene, the audience has an understanding of the mindset of the worker and the conditions that they are in.


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