Philippsburger Spargel (LFS01406)



Classic asparagus cultivation, harvesting, sale and processing of asparagus.


A delicacy: Philippsburg asparagus. ZT: ... and plow the same soil Two women and a man run through rows of asparagus with baskets, expose the asparagus from the earth and prick them. Asparagus is dug up and stung (close), v.E. Asparagus is placed in a basket and the hole in the asparagus hill is smoothed. ZT: Modern systems in "lines" Workers prick asparagus between rows, prick asparagus and close the holes. ZT: "Heap cultures" are out of date Workers sting asparagus in a field with small hills. ZT: asparagus pricking the business of the season Workers sting asparagus. Workers cleaning asparagus on the edge of the field load asparagus baskets onto a cart. Bicycle is stretched in front of the cart. Family harvesting asparagus in a field. Woman with asparagus basket on a bike. ZT: There is business at the asparagus growing cooperative ... Asparagus is stacked on a scale and weighed. Waiting people. Pan over asparagus baskets. Asparagus is weighed, vE, waiting people. ZT: Payday is important! Money is counted down. ZT: He is not entirely satisfied ... Man with pipe and hat, waiting people. Employees of the asparagus growing cooperative in front of their books, people waiting, trucks drive off. ZT: In the cannery ... Women peeling asparagus. ZT: The asparagus are cleaned and peeled Asparagus is poured onto a shaking grid. ZT: An automatic sorting machine Women sort the asparagus by size. ZT: The canned asparagus is boiled in large vats ... Asparagus is poured into boiling water. ZT: and finally sterilized in tin cans. Boiling water in a kettle.


Reference / film number :  LFS01406
Date :  1936
Coloration :  Black and white
Sound :  Mute
Running time :  00:14:36
Reel format :  16 mm
Genre :  Documentary
Thematics :  Traditions, Rural life, Agriculture and farming practices

Context and analysis

The film's first shot seems to have been composed correctly. The long lines of asparagus field run diagonally in the foreground, in the background the sky is large on the horizon line. It is almost a small world that the harvesters enter from both sides, looking down, looking for the fine cracks in the earth that indicate the ripe asparagus. The film about the Philippsburger asparagus harvest of 1938 looks quite professional in image design and montage - a documentary in the narrower sense, less an amateur film. The subtitles contribute to this impression.

"Philippsburger asparagus - a delicacy", so it says confidently right from the start - a tradition of cultivation, which is now no longer continued. The film jumps from the long shot of the landscape to the close-up, shows the stinging of the asparagus spears - and again the image section is deliberately designed with a view of the earth's surface. "Modern layouts in 'lines'": The subtitle indicates a sense of progress before an old woman can be seen in the half-close-up, who is digging up the asparagus with difficulty - a picture that also points to a social aspect in his poetry.

"'Heap cultures' are out of date": The next writing board takes a stand against the heap of cultivation - and once again offers the opportunity to take pictures of the landscape. The pictures of the further work steps also indicate something of the magic of a rural culture: three women cut the asparagus on a meadow with a tree in the background, and the transport is carried out with the bicycle basket or trailer. It remains open whether the National Socialist ideology resonates in this presentation, which deliberately stages simple rural life.

"The asparagus building cooperative is busy ...": The written explanation opens a new sequence. To fill the image, the harvest helpers crowd the scales in front of the asparagus hall. Weighing is approaching in a close-up, followed by a slow pan that seems to scan the visible. Close-ups fix the individual - such as a woman with a headscarf in her movement from weighing the asparagus to entering the list. Another pan isolates things in their optical weight, letting the film develop its own attention to the visual more and more: baskets full of asparagus standing next to and on top of each other are filmed from above - and the surfaces of the basket material, the asparagus spears and the ground show themselves between light and shadow. A stretched look is noticeable, which persists even when the crowd on the scales is subsequently shown from the back: In the partial shade, people and things can now be seen between the sunspots.

"Payday is important!" The employee's arms remain in the semi-darkness when paying, before a gaze attaches to the one-of-a-kind of a grumbling old man whose gestures speak for themselves - and which make the bystanders laugh. Then the camera is back inside the registration table, where it is darker and the sun's rays that come in from outside throw light spots on the waiting crowd. Once again, it is a cautious panning shot from above that creates its own visuality - and allows people and things to emerge in fragments from the dark.

"In the canning factory ...": A group of workers peeling asparagus makes the division of labor clear - and yet it is more. In their uniform movements, the women become the “picture” of a group, they also show themselves for the camera that they sometimes look at. The automatic sorting machine in the next setting is also not only a symbol of technical progress, but also staged in a contrasting light that can be recognized as a stylistic device of the film: In the background, a light line falls through the door, so that the movement of the sorting machine in the foreground almost appears in the abstract between light and dark.

The workers who sort by hand also gradually stand out in the dark, and the asparagus in front of them on the table is the bright contrast in a moving image, in which the surface dimension is involved and, so to speak, keeps the visible in suspense. In the last step - boiling the asparagus in tubs - the scene is initially barely recognizable because of the darkness until the large rectangular spot of light makes the tub stand out in the room. And in the close-up at the end, the tin kettle remains between light and dark, between concrete and abstract. The sober process of steam and spoon sterilization turns into the visual intensity of an image that could have come from an expressionist film. Rainer Bader

Places and monuments


  1. This film analysis is still in progress. It may therefore be incomplete and contain errors.