Skip to Content

<i>Cyankali </I> (1930)

Monday, May 21, 2012
12:00 AM
Angell Auditorium A

GERMAN FILM INSTITUTE <br>The Cinema of Crisis: German Film 1928-1936

Written and directed by Hans Tintner. Based on the play by Friedrich Wolf. With Grete Mosheim, Nico Turoff, Herma Ford, Claus Clausen.

This fervid drama forcefully illustrates the catastrophic consequences of keeping abortion illegal. Set in Berlin’s north suburbs, Cyankali tells the story of a Hete, a young pregnant working girl whose prospective husband is out of a job because of a strike. He steals food for his girl to keep her alive but is captured and sent to prison. Realizing that it will be impossible to raise a child under these conditions, Hete seeks an abortion, but no physician will aid her due to the illegality of her request. Describing the audience reaction upon the film’s premiere in the Babylon cinema in Berlin, C. Hooper Trask, a reviewer for the New York Times, noted, “Among that audience, any of whom might have been figures in the plot, one felt the reality with double force. Those working women had either lived that story themselves or had come in such close contact with it as to understand it fully. As they left the theatre at the end, their faces showed that the picture had been worth making.”
[Sources: moma.org, movies.nytimes.com, germanwarfilms.com]
35mm, minimal dialog, 80 min
German Film Institute pages