September 27, 2009
The movie was intense and long, a rather exhausting viewing. I traveled down to a rickety old theater in Culver City to watch it in a lonely theater that just had me and two other people...one of which who giggled at all the scenes of police brutality. CREEPY.
The movie was very good. The acting, directing, costumes, everything. I felt very immersed in a scary Germany of the past. What amazed me, is how well this movie connected the other country of another time to my here and now in America.
It showed views sympathetic to both the terrorists and the cat and mouse director who eventually caught them. There is a great scene were a stoic girl with a snappy camera documents a gun fight and capture of Baader. The little girl unflinchingly snaps away at what she recognizes as important. She watches the sniper position himself, she watch the shot fired, she clicks. That scene was the entire movie in a reflection.
Without moralizing, it spoke to where terrorism comes from. It showed that a group of students felt that there only way to make the apathetic Germans take notice of wars abroad and oppression at home was to bring the war to the home front. The RAF was horrified by what they saw as a relapse in the fascism of a previous generation. If the German people didn't rise up to stop Hitler, how could they be trusted now.
But the college drop outs were protesting wars in worlds they didn't understand. There are some great scenes where while hanging out at a PLO camp, the sunbathing women cannot understand how their nudity bothers "their Arab brothers," or in the same scene were Baader initiates a member by making him rob a women, he goes ape when someone steals his car.
For all the idealism of the RAF, you cannot help get the idea that there is a strong streak of thrill seeking youth just rebelling against the rules, whatever they are.
You also see some great flashbacks to a historic information age where Germany tracks the suspects through the "grid."
All of these events are brought into a wider context of other terror groups, student uprisings, and general world wide counter culture. Disaffected youth were waking up to question the conformity demanded by their governments and the wars in far off places. In the same time, Governments were stating to develop more nuanced world views, starting to see the long term repercussions of short sighted policies.