Screened as part of NZIFF 2017

The Young Karl Marx 2017

Le jeune Karl Marx

Directed by Raoul Peck Game Changers

Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro) delivers an engrossing, classically conceived biopic about how Karl Marx, as a struggling family man, and Friedrich Engels, the son of industrial wealth, came to create The Communist Manifesto.

France / Germany In English, French and German with English subtitles
118 minutes CinemaScope / DCP



Nicolas Blanc
Raoul Peck
Rémi Grellety
Robert Guédiguian


Pascal Bonitzer
Raoul Peck


Kolja Brandt


Frédérique Broos

Production designer

Benoit Barouh

Costume designer

Paule Mangenot


Alexei Aigui


August Diehl (Karl Marx)
Stefan Konarske (Friedrich Engels)
Vicky Krieps (Jenny Marx)
Hannah Steele (Mary Bruns)
Olivier Gourmet (Pierre-Joseph Proudhon)
Alexander Scheer (Wilhelm Weitling)


Sydney 2017

Raoul Peck, director of the masterful James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro, has described Baldwin and the revolutionary socialist Karl Marx as “the two feet I stand on... They frame who I am, my way of thinking and the way I analyse society.”

Peck’s equally striking film about Marx is a handsomely mounted historical drama – and political argument – based largely on the letters exchanged between 1843 and 1850 by Marx (August Diehl) and Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske).

The film charts their personal lives and the course of their friendship and ideological brotherhood from a first wary meeting until the eve of the drafting of the Communist Manifesto. Reconstructing the conditions of the industrial age that made Europe ripe for their radical programme, it tacitly evokes contemporary parallels. The densely packed screenplay, co-written with Pascal Bonitzer, reanimates their arguments with fervour, clarity and the colour of their personal histories.

“Marx is played by August Diehl: ragged, fierce with indignation and poverty, addicted to cheap cigars, spoiling for an argument and a fight. Engels, played by Stefan Konarske, is the rich kid whose father is a mill owner, with a dandy-ish manner of dress and a romantic mien...

This is a film which sticks to a credo that people arguing about theories and concepts – while also periodically angrily rejecting the notion of mere abstraction – is highly interesting. And Peck and Bonitzer pull off the considerable trick of making it interesting.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian