The Old New World

East German documentarists Annelie and the late Andrew Thorndike began their series of classic compilation documentaries in the early 1950s. The films, which treat the problems of recent and contemporary German history, are considered highly important in the development of the socialist compilation film and exemplary in the field of documentary filmmaking. Six of the Thorndikes' films were presented at the Pacific Film Archive in 1978: The German Story, The Russian Miracle, Operation Teutonic Sword, Holiday on Sylt, and The Old New World in its U.S. premiere.

The Old New World “is based on the famous statement by Karl Marx: ‘For socialist man, the entire history of the world is nothing but the creation of man through human labour, nothing but the emergence of nature for man, so he has the visible, irrefutable proof of his birth through himself, of his genesis.'
“The film shows the development of productive forces in various social formations of mankind: primitive society, slavery, capitalism, socialism/communism. It becomes clear that in the course of this development the position of man in production basically changes the nature of labour.
“Man has in the last decades developed means of warfare which, if used, would call in question the continued existence of all life on our planet. The maintenance of peace is therefore of primary importance in the struggle for social progress. The directors of the film deal at length with this issue....”

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