Artikelnummer 773
Verfügbarkeit

CYANKALI (1930) *with switchable English subtitles

Grete Mosheim, Nico Turoff and Claus Clausen
$9.99

Der bereits mit einigen Tonsequenzen ausgestattete Stummfilm ist ein sozialkritisches Manifest gegen den damals noch in verschärfter Form geltenden Abtreibungsparagraphen 218. Ende der 1920er Jahre kämpfen die Berliner Büroangestellte Hete Fent und ihr Verlobter, der Fabrikarbeiter Paul, um ihr materielles Überleben. Als Hete schwanger wird, wollen die beiden das Kind trotz ihrer Existenznöte behalten. Doch dann werden Paul und die anderen Arbeiter ihrer Lohnforderungen wegen aus der Fabrik ausgesperrt. Hete sieht keinen anderen Ausweg mehr und bemüht sich um einen Schwangerschaftsabbruch. Sie findet jedoch keinen Arzt, der ihr helfen will, und landet bei einer Kurpfuscherin, die ihr Cyankali verabreicht, um eine Fehlgeburt einzuleiten. Hete stirbt qualvoll an dem Gift, und ihre Mutter wird wegen Beihilfe zur Abtreibung verhaftet. 

Set in Berlin's north suburbs towards the end of the Weimar Era, Cyankali tells the story of a working-class neighborhood, their troubles and difficulties in daily life, but more central to the plot, the tragic situation of the film's protagonist, who finds herself pregnant by her boyfriend, who works at the same factory she does and who both find themselves unemployed during a lock-out after failed union negotiations at their plant.  Looking forward to the child and intent on buying their own small apartment to raise the child at first, Hete, the mother, soon comes to the realization that it will be impossible to care for the child, let alone herself, now that she is unemployed, with no end in sight.  In these very difficult times in Germany, she decides to do what more than half a million German women do every year in the Weimar Republic:  to get an abortion.  Abortions, however, are strictly illegal and each year, more than 10,000 women die at the hand of illegal abortionists, who operate with unsterile instruments and, worse, many times prescribe drinking cyanide to terminate the unborn.

The film is not a pro-abortion piece.  Indeed, the work hardly touches the morals around abortion, but instead decries the draconian laws that prevent abortion but at the same time also provide little in the way of birth control.  The movie does not attempt to convince the viewer of any particular view on the correctness or wrongness of abortions.  It does, however, expect you to be compassionate towards the many women who suffer horrible deaths, because of political decisions regarding abortion control.  In its time, the film -- adapted from a popular play -- was much more potent in its message than it would be today; but while women in westernized countries, for the most part, do not have to deal with such life-threatening situations, the politics of our times does not dilute the film's message very much.

 
DVD-R IS IN GERMAN WITH GERMAN INTERTITLES AND SWITCHABLE ENGLISH SUBTITLES.  APPROX. 86 MINS.  SOME MINOR SOUND AND PICTURE ISSUES AT TIMES, BUT OVERALL VERY GOOD, VHS-LIKE QUALITY. 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW.  IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):

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