Raoul Peck, director of The Young Karl Marx, hopes his movie can help young people to reflect on the world they live in and change it for the better.
Born in Haiti, a largely poor country with a great wealth gap, Peck has always questioned how the one percent people live in extravagance and comfort while many more had to labor and struggle just to survive.
Peck found the answer from Karl Marx. He learned Marx’s thoughts in his college days in Berlin, which became a key building block of his worldview.
“Marx’s thoughts help me understand what’s going on in the world today,” Peck said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
The director, now in his mid-60s, wishes to share his inspiration with today’s youth. He portrayed Karl Marx as an ordinary young man with an extraordinary ambition to change the whole world, hoping young people can relate to the story.
Peck said he studied Marxism not for politics but to find the tools and materials necessary to build his own value system. With his movie, Peck wants young people to get away from the low-brow content flooding the Internet and turn to great thinkers for better understanding of the world.
“I wish the younger generation can dig deep into these great ideas. I wish they can fight for the world,” he said.
To be more convincing, Peck insists that every one screen of the movie be based on historical facts. Part of the film’s plot and dialogue were adapted from correspondence between Marx and his friends and family, including Friedrich Engels.
Peck believes Marx’s thoughts have always impacted the West. His influence was underlined by the 2008 financial crisis, which lead to a realization of how prescient Marx was.
Capitalism is the root cause of many of the unprecedented challenges facing the world. In a world with abundant wealth, abject poverty is a reality for hundreds of millions of people. A reckless pursuit of wealth has contributed to climate change, pollution and conflict, Peck said.
Marx’s thoughts provide powerful tools to analyze and understand capitalism and how society and the economy work. Guided by his thoughts, people can fight for change, he added.
Peck has long had an understanding of global inequality from a young age. At eight, he fled from a tumultuous Haiti with his family to the underdeveloped Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He then went to schools in the DRC, the United States and France.
Most of his works address inequality and injustice. His documentary film I Am Not Your Negro won the People’s Choice Award at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature for the 89th Academy Awards.
“To me, film-making is not for entertainment or storytelling,” said Peck. “It is how I fight.” Enditem