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SNOWDROPS BLOOM IN SEPTEMBER

West Germany, 1974 (MIFF 1975, German Series)

Director: Christian Ziewer

Contrary to the impression the title may inspire, this German film is concerned with industrial relations. Directed by Christian Ziewer and Klaus Wiese, it deals with the conflicts, ambivalent needs and contradictory viewpoints which characterize the social situation and influence the lives of industrial workers. The film explores the relationship between two piece-workers, Ed and Hannes, against the background of the wage disputes of 1971-72 and the disagreements surrounding the inflationary increments of 1973.

The nine members of a piece-work crew in the boiler works are supposed to take over the work of their sick crew-mate, Udo. They demand a higher rate than management is prepared to pay. Ed is willing to accept the lower rate, but he is persuaded to hold out, and eventually management accepts the workers' claim. Outside the factory, Ed meets with disappointments in his hobby of rally driving, and Hannes tries to cope with the failure of his daughter at school. Further uncertainty arises within the factory with rumours that the plant is being sold to another firm. Work rates are cut, and the workers' solidarity breaks down. Ed and Hannes fall out as they propose different solutions. Finally, a mass demonstration tips the scales in favour of the workers.

Snowdrops Bloom in September follows Ziewer and Wiese's successful film of 1971, Dear Mother I'm Doing Well, which was the first German 'workers' situation' film. It was tremendously popular in Germany, winning many prizes and being repeatedly shown on German television. Eighty-five prints are now in circulation throughout the country. The cast of Snowdrops Bloom in September is listed as Claus Eberth, Wolfgang Liere, plus 400 workers, and both films developed through long discussions with groups of workers. Their amendments to the scripts were noted and the films changed accordingly.

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