For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.
Germany in the 1970s: Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism and the fear of the enemy inside are rocking the very foundations of the yet fragile German democracy. The radicalised children of the Nazi generation lead by Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin are fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment, many of whom have a Nazi past. Their aim is to create a more human society but by employing inhuman means they not only spread terror and bloodshed, they also lose their own humanity. The man who understands them is also their hunter: the head of the German police force Horst Herold. And while he succeeds in his relentless pursuit of the young terrorists, he knows he's only dealing with the tip of the iceberg. Written by
As an immediate reaction to the movie, Ignes Ponto, widow of Jürgen Ponto, whose assassination is portrayed in the movie, returned her Federal Cross of Merit. She was angry that the Federal Republic of Germany has never even created a memorial for victims of the RAF, but instead helped to finance films like this one about the members of the RAF. Also, she said, she had not been warned about the graphic portrayal of Ponto's assassination when she was invited to the movie premiere and felt humiliated by the producers for making her sit through this without a warning. About a month later, she filed a lawsuit against the producers, who claimed that every scene is historically accurate, because the assassination of her husband, which she had to witness from the next room, was not portrayed as it happened. She demands the scene of the murder of her husband be cut from the movie. The filmmakers claim that they had tried to contact her during production to get the scene right but she had no desire to cooperate. Before this movie, there had been no portrayal of Ponto's assassination on film and she felt the staging of the movie was lurid and dishonoring to her husband. As of this writing, no decision has been reached about the lawsuit. See more »
While making a telephone call in an adjoining room, Ignes Ponto became an eyewitness of the assassination of her husband Jürgen Ponto in their house. In the movie, she is sitting on patio in the sunshine from where she is not able to see that Jürgen Ponto is shot. See more »
Clear, honest, simple, radiant; one of the best political films I've seen
Brilliant film about the Baader-Meinhof group, i.e. one of the most active modern terrorist groups. The film starts with showing people peacefully demonstrating against the Shah of Iran and his wife who were visiting Western Germany in the late 60s; on signal, supporters of the Shah and the police rush and senselessly beat demonstrators into pulp. The imagery is one that will not soon leave my mind, being extremely reminiscent of what happened in the G8 protests at Genoa and Gothenburg about 30 years later. Back to the film: the leftist movement is at this time very much against the police state that Western Germany has become. As the hippie 60s obviously didn't help much with turning things around, the early 70s - brought on by with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the US carrying on their war in Vietnam with Nixon coming into power and the West German government was being accused for merely being a puppet in the hands of imperialist America, some people wanted to turn things around without using flowers and kind words. These people were seriously convinced that the word was revolution, and used kidnapping, bombs and bullets for change. This film is the story of the core of the Baader-Meinhof group, and it's close to the best political cinema I've ever seen; the direction, the acting, the script, the editing and the music...it's as if the make-up is washed away from how political films usually are, leaving the viewer to decide what's right and wrong. It's interesting to see how the Baader-Meinhof group works as the members are increasingly isolated and brain-wash each other by simply interacting with their hardcore ideals as the base. Brilliant and highly recommendable, of course no matter what your personal political ideas are.
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