A hot new movie about a murderous, glamorous gang of 1970s radicals is triggering outrage in Germany.
The Baader Meinhof Komplex— which premiered in Munich last week—has reopened a septic wound in Germany over a group of young terrorists who rocked the nation with coldblooded bombings, kidnappings and murder during the late 60s and 70s. The film, produced by the man who made “Downfall,” the hit film about Hitler’s grisly final days, is Germany’s Oscar entry.
The Baader Meinhof, or, alternatively, the Red Army Faction (RAF), were the well educated children of prosperous Germans who dropped out of society. They thought post-war Germany was run by Nazis and they waged war on top government officials with bombings and grisly murders. They learned their deadly trade in Syria, where they offended Arab sensibilities by sunbathing naked and practicing free love.
Their two-decade reign of terror became an inspiration to Sixties’ student radicals on both sides of the Atlantic who believed peaceful protest was not enough to cure the world’s ills. They were like a politically motivated branch of the Manson gang. Their mysterious deaths in prison cells may or may not have been suicide.
The film has generated tremendous buzz in Germany, where many feared it would glorify the RAF without regard for their victims, despite the makers’ claims it "destroys the myth of the RAF" and "finally stops seeing [the gang] as they never were." But the terrorists’ children complain their parents are portrayed as heartless killers, while children of the gang’s victims claim the assassins have been glamorized, a fact confirmed by the German teen fashion of “Prada Meinhof” T-shirts.
The truth is a combination of all three. Jörg Schleyer, whose father was kidnapped and murdered by the RAF, said, “It hurt me to watch it, but it is the only way to make clear to young people how brutal and bloodthirsty the RAF was at the time." Read more in The Independent
BAADER MEINHOF TRAILER TRANSLATION
UM being interviewed Interviewer: "Tell us, you've taken the side of the student protesters. Why?" UM: "The right-wing press has blamed the students for the catastrophe of June 2. But the truth is that so-called freedom in this country means the freedom for police brutality."
AB shooting in car: "Only guns will free us from the past."
Police go for Baader and Ensslin who are lying in bed. Next they're in court. GE: "We've learned that it's wrong to talk without acting." Courtroom applauds.
At a table discussing: GE: "We're putting together group that will change the political landscape." UM: "How's that supposed to work?" AB: "What kind of a fucked-up bourgeois question is that? We're gonna do it. We'll die for it."
UM typing: "We declare that the man in uniform is a pig, not a human—And that's how we will deal with him. And, of course, shots will be fired." AB: "Shit" GE: "Shot in cold blood." AB: "Now the war is on."
Two govt men talking 1: "I think this will all be over soon." 2 (Bruno Ganz): "I think that social groups that find our circumstances oppressive won't hesitate to throw bombs into what they consider to be society's outdated consciousness."
UM, now with short hair/white sweater: "As of today, we're on hunger strike. We demand a change in our treatment beginning with...." Judge: "You are under orders to remain in court." UM: "You can't force me, you asshole." Still in court: AB: "Put down that I say you're a fascist asshole." GE leans over microphone: "Miserable rat."
Man and woman walking along. Woman: "We've got to get them out fast" Man: "They think we can get a 7 by 7 and let it circle over Bonn. When the fuel is gone it'll just fall."
AB: "The things going on out there now—they were done by the second and third generations. Compared to them, our politics were relatively restrained."
TV Moderator: "Over time, terrorism doesn't stand a chance because it's not only government that stands against the terrorists—but also the entire population."