The Young Karl Marx

Synopsis: 26 year-old Karl Marx embarks with his wife, Jenny, on the road to exile. In 1844 Paris, he meets Friedrich Engels, an industrialist's son, who investigated the sordid birth of the British working-class. Engels, the dandy, provides the last piece of the puzzle to the young Karl Marx's new vision of the world. Together, between censorship and the police's repression, riots and political upheavals, they will lead the labor movement during its development into a modern era.
118 min

In early 1843, Europe,

ruled by absolute monarchs,

wracked by crises, famine and recession,

is on the verge of change.

In England, the industrial revolution

transforms the world's order

and creates the new proletarian class.

Workers' organizations are founded,

based on a "communist" utopia

in which all men are brothers.

Two young Germans

will disrupt this notion,

thereby transforming the struggle...

and the world's future.


To gather green wood,

one must rip it violently

from the living tree.

Yet gathering dead wood

removes nothing from the property.

Only what is already separated

is removed from the property.

Despite this essential difference,

you call both acts theft

and punish them as such.

Montesquieu names

two kinds of corruption.

One when the people

do not observe the laws.

The other

when the laws corrupt them.

You have erased the difference

between theft and gathering.

But you are wrong to believe

it is in your interest.

The people see the punishment,

but not the crime.

Cologne, April 1843

And, as they do not see a crime...

when they are punished,

you should fear them,

for they will take revenge.

So, Karl, satisfied?

Am I satisfied, Stirner?

I don't know.

It's partly due to you

that it's come to this.

Two things satisfy me:

that my article

has had an effect

and that Prussian despotism

reveals itself at last.

Yes, that satisfies me.

- And the paper...

Gagged and dismantled

our words muzzled.

Us imprisoned.

- What could I do?

Remain silent?

Censor myself?

Be content with allusions like you?

Very smart!

- Be fair.

What are we victims of?

Our success.

Success that we owe above all

to Karl's writings!

And what is the result?

We're finished!

A fine success! Bravo!

Don't open the door!

If they break it down,

they'll slaughter us!


- Stop it!

Shut your mouth! Enough.

Why are we trembling?

They can kill the Rheinische Zeitung,

they can try to gag us,

but they cannot kill thought!

We won't surrender!

We'll found...

A new paper?

- Yes.

We'll find funds...

- With the same nonsense?

The Rheinische Zeitung,


Scribbles urging world revolution,

devoid of ideas and concepts.

What do you do?

Produce some vague understatements,

vague literary reviews,

vague socialist theories.

Take that back!

I'm sick of your arrogance.

We all are!


I'm sick of you too, Bauer,

and all you Young Hegelians,

"free thinkers"

as you call yourselves.

Have fun, you clowns!

No, Ruge!

I've enough fighting with pins.

I want a sledgehammer!

Enough hypocrisy, stupidity

and brutal authority.

They've banned us? Good!

What are you doing?

A few nights in jail

will do us good.

Gentlemen, I'm all ours.


Come along!

- Hands off me!

Hurry it UP!

I have an offer for you...

- Quiet!

I want to start a new journal.

Different, freer.

More modern, bolder.

What would you say to Paris?

Manchester, England

They took the lids off the steam looms.

People got burnt.

This has to stop!

It's intolerable!

Ermen & Engels Mill

Who cut the belts?

Ten to one

it was those Irish clogs.

What about Roisin?

- Yeah, what about Roisin?

The girl who fell asleep at the loom

and got her fingers cut off, eh?

Who'll give her back her fingers?

May I?

- Be quiet.

It'll teach her to pay more attention.

You lot are paid to work, not to sleep.

We do work!

- Careful.

You're stirring them up.

- Paid?

She hadn't slept in three days,

and now she can go off and die?

Call that a job?

- Quiet!

The repairs

will be clocked from your wages.

That's all you get out of it.

You're lucky I don't sack the lot of you!

Repairing machines is expensive.

Not like labour in Manchester.

Ten fingers is all we're worth.

And if we lose them,

we're fit for the scrap heap, is that it?

She's the one

who was talking about Roisin.

She's the ringleader.

- What was her name?

Ask me, boss.

I have a mouth myself.

A big one too, by the sound of it.

My name is Mary Burns.

I was born in Tipperary, and now

a slave at the Ermen and Engels

Spinning Mill in Manchester, England.

Get rid of her.

She can find her food elsewhere.

You heard him. Get out!

And anyone else

with big ideas can go with her.

You have to weed out the bad apples.

I want a list...

of all the troublemakers

and rabble-rousers.

Father, don't you think that's enough?

You want to tell me

how to run a factory?

No, Father.

That is not my ambition...


- Maybe next time.

Excuse me. What's in there?

- In there?

The Irish.

- Alright, thank you.

If I were you, I'd avoid it.

Let me introduce myself.

We know who you are.

- Shut up.

Why are you talking to him?

He's the boss's son.

- Who? Which boss?

He's the Engels son

from Ermen and Engels mills

on Regent Road and Bridgewater.

Where we worked our fingers to the bone

till today, when we got sacked.

Yes, I am the Engels son.

My first name's Friedrich,

but you can call me Fred, or Freddy.

What do you want?

This is no place for you.

There's plenty of pubs across the Irwell

for gentlemen like you.

Gentlemen who throw us out like dogs.

Like the Irish dogs we are.

We're all Irish clogs here, right, Paddy?

- Yeah.

And I know one who'll spit his baccy juice

all over this gentleman's shiny boots.

Mind yourself.

- I'd get over it.

And please stop calling me a gentleman.

I'm neither English nor a gentleman.

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Pascal Bonitzer

Pascal Bonitzer (French: [bɔnitsɛʁ]; born 1 February 1946) is a French screenwriter, film director, actor and former film critic for Cahiers du cinéma. He has written for 48 films and has appeared in 30 films since 1967. He starred in Raúl Ruiz's 1978 film The Suspended Vocation. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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