The Baader Meinhof Complex

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

“If you want to make a film about terrorism, you have to show what terrorism looks like.” — Stefan Aust

Director: Uli Edel
Year: 2008
Country: Germany
Running time: 150 mins

Producer: Bernd Eichinger
Screenplay: Bernd Eichinger, Uli Edel. Based on the book by Stefan Aust
Photography: Rainer Klausmann
Editor: Alexander Berner
Music: Peter Hinderthür, Florian Tessloff
In German, English, French and Arabic, with English subtitles
R16 violence, offensive language, sex scenes

With: Martina Gedeck (Ulrike Meinhof), Moritz Bleibtreu (Andreas Baader), Johanna Wokalek (Gudrun Ensslin), Nadja Uhl (Brigitte Mohnhaupt), Stipe Erceg (Holger Meins), Niels Bruno Schmidt (Jan-Carl Raspe), Vinzenz Kiefer (Peter-Jürgen Boock), Simon Licht (Horst Mahler), Alexandra Maria Lara (Petra Schelm), Bruno Ganz (Horst Herold)

Festivals: London 2008

The Baader Meinhof Complex is the major German film of the year. A bold mixture of action thriller and historical reconstruction, it traces the lifespan of the violent terrorist group that called itself the Red Army Faction and from 1968 into the 90s repeatedly attacked the German establishment. Disaffected children of the post-Nazi generation, they saw the US actions in Vietnam, the Middle East and the Third World as a new fascism. Their targets were big business and the pro-government media, and their spectacular tactics established a large fan base among the young, radical left. The film is based on the highly regarded book by the investigative reporter Stefan Aust, who from his student days knew many of the people involved. Moritz Bleibtreu as the charismatic, possibly psychopathic Andreas Baader and Martina Gedeck as theorist and writer Ulrike Meinhof lead an exceptional cast of young actors whose iconic status among young Germans today evokes the outlaw glamour of the Red Army Faction's star performers then. Bruno Ganz is reliably strong as the head of police with the wherewithal to bring the Faction to justice. While never stinting on adrenaline thrills, director Uli Edel remains coolly observant of the contradictions inherent in the mix of idealism, frustration and personal grievance that drove the group to murder their fellow citizens in the name of democracy and justice. — BG

“A powerful movie... The Baader Meinhof Complex brings back the terrible events in the Germany of the 1960s and 1970s in a manner that clears and focuses the mind.” — Philip French, The Observer

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