This review is part of the Monthly ABC Film Challenge over at Movie Reviews 101. This month’s theme is World Cinema.
If you’re interested in taking part, feel free to contact Darren.
Tnx for letting me take part Darren!
Here‘s the link to the original post.
“If you throw a stone, it’s a crime. If a thousand stones are thrown, that’s political. If you set fire to a car it’s a crime; if a hundred cars are set on fire that’s political.” – Ulrike Meinhof
Number of Times Seen – Twice (5 Jul 2009 and 2 Jun 2019)
Brief Synopsis – During the late 1960’s, a group of German students begin a movement against the government which they see as fascist
My Take on it – This is a film that I saw nearly a decade ago and didn’t remember much of it.
They d a fascinating job telling this dark tale in a very sensationalizing way that helps sow how these things came to be.
The broad scope of actions that the RAF participated in during the late 1960’s and onward for nearly a decade is quite vast and they needed to make a crucial decision here as to whether to omit certain parts yet expand on others or try to abbreviate all of the events in order to even find a way to stretch things into 2 and a half hours.
Things sometimes feel a bit rushed yet they still manage to give us an overall portrait of the things that happened.
The character development is a bit strange since a few of the main characters are developed really well while others feel too superficial the entire time.
This film manages to find a way to capture the essence of this group and at the same time constantly bombard us with the age old question as to where is the fine line between freedom fighter and terrorist.
This is still a subject of ongoing debate despite the 5 decades since the RAF was established.
The choice to leave some crucial plot points very ambiguous works really well since there s no clear evidence ether way as t where the real truth lies and the unanswered questions seem to be actually asking for proof from the authorities as to the truth.
This film does a great job showing how this terrorist group differed from the ones run by their Arab counterparts.
The classic scene on the rooftop while training which shows the Germans scantily clad (or less) in order to get some sun is able to say so much by the depiction here and is a testament to the various motivational difference between the two factions.
Bottom Line – Fascinating film that tells a very dark story by sensationalizing things. The scope of the actions of the RAF during the late 60’s and onward for a decade is quite vast and even a 2 and a half hour film is unable to do it complete justice because it needs to rush through many of the terrorist events in order to cram it all in. Some of the characters are developed really well while others seem a bit too superficial. The film manages to capture the essence of this group and constantly makes us ask the question about where is the fine line between revolutionary and terrorist which is still being debated more than 50 years after the start of the RAF movement. I liked the way that they leave a few important details ambiguous since it allows the debate to continue but since there isn’t any true evidence to support either side, it’s understandable why they would leave some questions unanswered. The choice to show the various social and nationalistic differences between them and their Arab counterparts, this film has some great scenes with them together which speaks so much about the differences in motivation between the two groups. Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – As an immediate reaction to the movie, Ignes Ponto, widow of Jürgen Ponto, whose assassination is portrayed in the movie, returned her Federal Cross of Merit. She was angry that the Federal Republic of Germany has never even created a memorial for victims of the RAF, but instead helped to finance films like this one about the members of the RAF. Also, she said, she had not been warned about the graphic portrayal of Ponto’s assassination when she was invited to the movie premiere and felt humiliated by the producers for making her sit through this without a warning. About a month later, she filed a lawsuit against the producers, who claimed that every scene is historically accurate, because the assassination of her husband, which she had to witness from the next room, was not portrayed as it happened. She demands the scene of the murder of her husband be cut from the movie. The filmmakers claim that they had tried to contact her during production to get the scene right but she had no desire to cooperate. Before this movie, there had been no portrayal of Ponto’s assassination on film and she felt the staging of the movie was lurid and dishonoring to her husband. As of this writing, no decision has been reached about the lawsuit. (From IMDB)
Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)
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This starts quite thrilling but it drags on for ages and if you’re not already aware of the RAF becomes quite confusing. The character development is very limited and by the end you’re not really bothered about what happens to any of the characters and it’s quite ironic that the most interesting person in the film is Horst Herold, the government official in charge of the manhunt.
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