The Young Karl Marx

The Young Karl Marx (Le jeune Karl Marx) is a 2017 historical drama film about Karl Marx directed by Haitian filmmaker and political activist Raoul Peck, co-written by Peck and Pascal Bonitzer, and starring August Diehl.[2] It was screened at the Berlin Film Festival, from 9–19 February 2017.[3] this film commemorates to the 200th birthday of the founder of the communist movement.

The Young Karl Marx
French: Le jeune Karl Marx
Directed byRaoul Peck
Produced by
Written byPascal Bonitzer
Raoul Peck
Music byAlexei Aigui
CinematographyKolja Brandt
Edited byFrédérique Broos
Distributed byDiaphana Films
Release date
  • 12 February 2017 (2017-02-12) (Berlinale)
  • 2 March 2017 (2017-03-02) (Germany)
Running time
118 minutes[1]


While in his 20s, Karl Marx struggles to establish himself as a writer of political and sociological importance. He meets Friedrich Engels, a young man whose wealthy father owns factories. Engels' belief that the workers there and elsewhere, including children, are mistreated and underpaid matures. The men begin to work together to create a new political movement to reform and unite the impoverished workers. Eventually, the two stage a coup during a meeting of the League of the Just and create the Communist League in its place. The film ends with Marx and Engels writing and publishing their objectives as The Communist Manifesto.



Critical reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 60% based on 47 reviews, and an average rating of 6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Young Karl Marx makes a valiant attempt to make the philosophical cinematic, but lacks sufficient depth to tackle its complex themes."[4] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[5]

The Guardian's review by Peter Bradshaw gave the film four out of five stars and stated, "It shouldn't work, but it does, due to the intelligence of the acting and the stamina and concentration of the writing and directing."[6] In a review for Inside Higher Ed, Scott McLemee described the film as "a nuanced and surprisingly accurate portrait of the revolutionary as a young man", noting its faithfulness to the historical record.[7] Writing for the New Statesman, Suzanne Moore described the film as "sparky, brave and totally absorbing" and "in many ways a conventional biopic, lifted by its performances, and by its insistence that ideas matter".[8] A.O. Scott of the New York Times regarded it as being "both intellectually serious and engagingly free-spirited."[9]

Awards and nominations

Traverse City Film Festival
  • Founders Grand Prize: 2017[10]

See also


  1. "The Young Karl Marx". Playtime. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  2. Blaney, Martin (29 September 2015). "Diaphana picks up 'Young Karl Marx'". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  3. Roxborough, Scott (15 December 2016). "Berlin: Richard Gere, Rebecca Hall's 'The Dinner,' Sally Potter's 'The Party' in Competition". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  4. "The Young Karl Marx (Le jeune Karl Marx) (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  5. "The Young Karl Marx Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  6. Bradshaw, Peter (12 February 2017). "The Young Karl Marx review – intelligent communist bromance". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  7. McLemee, Scott (2 February 2018). "200 Years Young". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  8. Moore, Suzanne (4 May 2018). "The Young Karl Marx is a sparky retelling of the build up to The Communist Manifesto". New Statesman. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  9. Scott, A.O. (22 February 2018). "Review: In 'The Young Karl Marx,' a Scruffy Specter Haunts Europe". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  10. "TCFF XIII Award Winners". Traverse City Film Festival. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
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