Theme of Kleingeld

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Topics: Glass, Office, Tank, Camera
In class, we watched a short 90’s German film named “Kleingeld.” This film tells the story of Mr. Herr Hoffman, a man who works in a business position in the city, and a homeless beggar who stands outside of the office building with a cup for money. Hoffman has his life centered on his high-profile business job, and later realizes his loneliness. A prominent theme throughout this film is that we need to have a balance in our lives, rather than focusing on just one aspect. Hoffman seems to live in a very sterile and controlled world. There are several cold, hard surfaces throughout the film. He works in a dark glass building, and drives a dark car. Even his fish tank, is clear glass and just has one fish; no plants or decorations are in the tank. The film itself seems to have been made on a dark and gloomy day, with few bright colors. This gives off a feeling of somberness. These cold spaces and hard surfaces might suggest Hoffman’s loneliness. The fish is alone in the glass tank, just like Hoffman is alone in the glass building. Hoffman seems to be very focused on his work, almost too focused. What we see as a result is Hoffman’s lack of a social life. One afternoon, he observes his secretary leaving the office. He sees her meet up with another gentlemen; possibly a boyfriend, maybe just a friend. This shows that unlike Hoffman, she has a private life outside of the office. She lets down her hair, showing that she is no longer the official person she is in the office, but the private person with a friend. Hoffman can never seem to shed his business aspect of his life.
After the incident when he hit the beggar with the car, we see Hoffman looking into the parking lot, possibly waiting for the beggar to once again wash his car. Hoffman walks to his car, and for the first time in a while he must brush the leaves off before getting in. All of these little details are examples of how things have changed for Hoffman. As he is driving down the street, the camera

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