Film review – The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)

7 May 2009
Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck)

Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck)

Nobody could accuse contemporary German cinema of shying away from the past. Films like The Downfall, The Lives of Others and now The Baader Meinhof Complex have all explored very dark chapters of the country’s history, ensuring that the events depicted will be preserved as a constant reminder for future generations. In the case of The Baader Meinhof Complex, directed by Uli Edel (Christiane F., Last Exit To Brooklyn), it is the creation and the terrorist actions of the radical and militant leftist group the Red Army Faction (RAF) from 1967-1977 that is under scrutiny. The RAF had its foundations in the anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist student movements that were happening worldwide in the late 1960s and The Baader Meinhof Complex carefully reveals the conditions under which that rebellious sentiment led to violent action. The young generation of educated Germans knew all too well what could happen if state fascists tendencies were left unchecked and police brutality, an increase of rightwing journalism and rightwing violence against student protesters were all ingredients in turning their outrage into extremism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Film review – The Reader (2008)

15 February 2009
Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet) and Michael Berg (David Kross)

Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet) and Michael Berg (David Kross)

The Reader is an adaptation of Der Vorleser, a partly autobiographical novel by Bernhard Schlink, a German law professor and judge. Since it’s original German publication in 1995 and then English translation in 1997, it has won multiple awards and become a best seller. This film adaptation is aware of its distinguished literary background and the serious acting, serious Philip Glass inspired score and serious cinematography all insist that The Reader is An Important Film. In the hands of less capable filmmakers it could have been excruciating but as they demonstrated when they collaborated on The Hours, director Stephen Daldry and screenplay writer David Hare are more than capable of making such a text accessible to wider audiences. The Reader is not a cold academic exercise but a deeply moving film.

Read the rest of this entry »