11 April 2009

DER BAADER MEINHOF KOMPLEX (Dir. Uli Edel, Germany, 2008)

Is it right to romanticise terrorists or is it right to celebrate the revolutionary spirit of human resistance? Uli Edel’s superior political thriller seems to blur the line between such questions by presenting the members of the notorious Baader-Meinhof group as Marxist intellectual freedom fighters and sinister celebrities with a real taste for ideological banter. Released last year to great controversy, ‘The Baader-Meinhof Komplex’ is a gripping account of the tumultuous rise and fall of what is perhaps the most politically active Marxist group to have emerged out of European society in the last 50 years. Those involved in the production of this compelling drama have taken a lot of pleasure in bringing to life the 70s era and also doing so in way that thankfully never out rightly condemns the members of the group simply for espousing leftist beliefs. Some critics have accused the film of romanticising terrorism by depicting the group as contemporary anti heroes who use violence as a means of intellectual self defence from the corrupt ruling elite. I have to admit I was enthralled by every minute of this brilliant film and alongside ‘Goodbye Lenin’, ‘The Edukators’ and ‘Downfall’, this is yet another reason why German cinema continues to produce some of the most thought provoking and difficult political films. Yes, of course, at times the film does unfold like an essay but it is encouraging to finally come across a film that is not afraid of ideological discussion. And is it really a bad thing that the film makes Marxism seem oddly appealing to even the most discerning of viewers? I think not.

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