Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Baader Meinhoff Complex (Movie)

Fascinating stuff. Strangely, I first came across a reference to Baader-Meinhoff in a Monty Python book and I've always wanted to know more about it; we in the US are taught so little about about European history after WWII (or before WWI for that matter).

The actors and characters in the movie are all well played, especially Martina Gedeck as Ulrike Meinhof and Johanna Wokalek as Gudrun Ensslin. The characters are portrayed as interesting, complex people and shown with little sympathy except for Meinhoff, an extreme left-wing journalist who is seduced by the thought of taking action for her beliefs and gives up her young twin daughters for the cause (according to the film, she almost has them sent to a Jordanian orphanage before they are rescued by her ex-husband).

The film also strongly shows the utter lunacy of the position of some current right wing commentators that Nazi Germany was some kind of "socialist" state (evidently because the word "socialist" is in the name of the party) when the Baader-Meinhoff gang and the movement they were part of (which per the movie evidently had strong sympathy from the German public) was clearly a reaction to the corporatism and "my country right or wrong" attitudes of the Facist Nazis and the population that supported them. Pull the other one, gentlemen and ladies.

Highly recommended, though if you are seeing it at the theater in Berkeley you might want to check and see if their air conditioning is working again; 2 1/2 hours of violence in a hot, dark room got a little bit unpleasant ;)