Something Self Explanatory (15x)

Eine Sache, die sich versteht is an educational film about an aspect of political economy. The concepts of use value, barter value and labor as a commodity are the subjects; they are intended to introduce the process of understanding the theory of value of work and the law of values, alienation and fetish. We are dealing here with a topic whose logical, deductive elements are readily understood, but which when placed in context goes against the evidence, thus defying comprehension.

Predominant thinking regards an individual producing goods for his or her own benefit as the most natural thing in the world, also that the individual will trade these goods and that there are criteria governing equality of exchange.

In chapter 4 of Das Kapital, Marx portrays the act of exchange as a balancing act, and makes what seemed obvious become a problem. The authors are attempting to achieve a similar ambivalence: they want to make a person walking think about what walking is, and fall over.

(Internationales Forum des Jungen Films, 1971)

Original title Eine Sache, die sich versteht (15x) Director, scriptwriter Hartmut Bitomsky, Harun Farocki, based on texts by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Cinematographer Carlos Bustamante, David Slama Editor Hasso Nagel Sound Johannes Beringer Production Larabel Film Harun Farocki, Berlin-West, with financial support from Kuratorium junger deutscher Film, Wiesbaden Format 16mm, b/w, 1:1,37 Length 64 min. First screening Juni 1971, Berlin-West, Internationales Forum des Jungen Films Distributor Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek