People On Sunday (1930) - German precursor to the Italian neo-realism film. 5 non-professional actors star in this tale of a typical Sunday idyll in and around Berlin. We meet taxi driver Erwin Splettstober, wine salesman Wolfgang von Waltershausen, music store clerk Brigitte Borchert, film extra Christl Ehlers, and model Annie Schreyer, attractive young people who are looking to relax on a sunny Sunday. The first four travel out to the country for a frolic in and around a lake, during which romantic attachments are formed and lost. This is cut together with documentary footage of average German citizens enjoying their Sunday in various ways.
This hard-to-classify effort has a stellar line-up behind the scenes: Billy Wilder and Curt Siodmak worked on the screenplay, the direction was by Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer, and an uncredited Fred Zinnemann worked on various aspects of the movie, as well. The cinematography, although primitive and obvious in its trickery (I'm thinking of the often reflected light creating a sun-dappled effect on the actors' faces), has a modernity and immediacy seldom seen in films of the time. I think my favorite sequence of the film was a montage of close-up faces, of all shapes and sizes, of people around the lake. Recommended. 8/10