The film is based on Kafka's unfinished novel "Der Verschollene". It doesn't deal with the real United States but it is rather a kind of allegory taking place at no specific time in history. Straub and Huillet's version is about class relations and about the society that is created by capitalism, which is utterly cruel, capricious and ludicrous. This 2-disc DVD offers a film transfer supervised by the filmmakers themselves as well as two rare documentaries about the shooting, different versions of the screenplay by Straub and Huillet, unpublished rushes and photos from the shooting.
Klassenverhältnisse - West Germany 1984 - Directed and written by: Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, based on the unfinished novel "Der Verschollene" by Franz Kafka - Photography by: William Lubtchansky - Cast: Christian Heinisch, Nazzareno Bianconi, Mario Adorf, Laura Betti, Harun Farocki, Manfred Blank, Reinald Schnell - Produced by: Janus Film und Fernsehen, Frankfurt/Main - Première: February 21, 1984 (Internationales Filmfestspiele Berlin)
Arbeiten zu "Klassenverhältnisse" von Danièle Huillet und Jean-Marie Straub - West Germany 1983 - Directed by: Harun Farocki - Photography by: Ingo Kratisch - Produced by: Harun Farocki Filmproduktion, Berlin - Première: 1984, Filmmuseum München
Wie will ich lustig lachen - West Germany 1984 - Directed by: Manfred Blank - Photography by: Berthold Schweiz - Produced by: blankfilm, Berlin - Première: 1984, Filmmuseum München
Work in Progress - Germany 2007 - Concept and Montage: Klaus Kanzog, Klaus Volkmer - Produced by: Filmmuseum München - First release on DVD
DVD features (2 discs)
- Klassenverhältnisse 1984, 122'
- Booklet with texts by various authors
- Handwritten screenplay by Jean-Marie Straub, shooting script by Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, shooting schedule, interview and press conference with Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, and book about the film by Wolfram Schuette as ROM features
- Arbeiten zu 'Klassenverhältnisse' von Danièle Huillet und Jean-Marie Straub 1983, 65'
- Wie will ich lustig lachen 1984, 42'
- Work in Progress 2007, 20'
- 44 production stills by Berthold Schweiz
DVD edited by: Österreichisches Filmmuseum and Filmmuseum München with Goethe-Institut München
DVD authoring: Ralph Schermbach
DVD supervision: Klaus Volkmer, Michael Loebenstein
First edition October 2007, Second edition November 2007