People on Sunday Exempt
(Germany/1929) 75 minutes
Robert Siodmak|Edgar G Ulmer
Berliners as themselves
PEOPLE ON SUNDAY is a delight. Made on a micro-budget in 1929, it's set in Berlin and follows a loose storyline devised by Billy Wilder. The 'actors' are not actors at all, in the professional sense, but real people with real jobs who gave up their Sundays to take part in this project, playing versions of themselves. There's the taxi-driver, the sales assistant in the record shop, the wine-merchant, and so on. Filmed mostly outdoors, around Berlin, we get to see what Weimar Germany was like for a group of young people who could simply hang out together, listen to the gramophone and go swimming. The performances are wonderfully natural as we get to know more about these individuals, their friendships, romances and jealousies. Everything is humorous and relaxed.
Of course, there is added poignancy with the benefit of hindsight, knowing now what would happen to Germany's economy and politics in the space the next few years. A list of those involved in making the film is like a roll-call for the Jewish talent forced out of Germany by the rise of Nazism:
Director - Robert Siodmak
who left Berlin in 1933 for Paris and moved to Hollywood in 1939.
Co-director - Edgar G Ulmer
who was making films in Hollywood by 1933.
Screenplay - Curt Siodmak (Robert's brother)
who left Berlin in 1933 for England and moved to Hollywood in 1937.
Writer - Billy Wilder
who left Berlin for Paris and moved to Hollywood in 1933.
Assistant Cinematographer - Fred Zinneman
who left Berlin for New York and Hollywood in October 1929.
The film will be presented in a fully-restored print with musical score by Elena Kats-Chernin.
21 June 2022 TUESDAY 19:30
Playhouse Main Screen