In an early scene in THE YOUNG KARL MARX—a biopic of exuberant intelligence—Karl and Jenny Marx (August Diehl and Vicky Krieps), followers and supporters of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (Olivier Gourmet), engage the father of French anarchy in a debate over image versus substance. Jenny admires the poetry of Proudhon’s pronouncements—”La propriété, c’est le vol” (“property is theft”), for example—but tells him, “It’s just an image. An image, as you say in French, chasing its own tail.”
The collective spirit of the enterprise—the rigorous activism of Jenny and Karl and the industrialist’s son Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske) in the years leading up to the composition of the Communist Manifesto—is a joy to behold.
THE YOUNG KARL MARX was directed and co-written by Raoul Peck, who’s previous film was the brilliant James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro.
LE JEUNE KARL MARX / THE YOUNG KARL MARX, now playing.
ROYAL, Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.
PLAYHOUSE, 673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.
See Raoul Peck’s Vulture interview: vulture.com/raoul-peck
Streaming on demand from March 6.
Top two: August Diehl and Stefan Konarske. Photograph by Kris Dewitte.
Bottom: Vicky Krieps, August Diehl, and Stefan Konarske. Photograph by Frederic Batier.
Image credit: The Orchard.