Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

The Baader Meinhof Complex 2008

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

Directed by Uli Edel

The major German film of the year. This vivid, provocative thriller traces the activities of the violent group of self-styled anti-fascists who called themselves the Red Army Faction and terrorised West Germany.

France / Germany In Arabic, English, French and German with English subtitles
150 minutes 35mm



Bernd Eichinger


Bernd Eichinger
Uli Edel. Based on the book by Stefan Aust


Rainer Klausmann


Alexander Berner


Peter Hinderthür
Florian Tessloff


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)


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