Wednesday, 4 June 2014

If Not Us, Who?

Its May 1949, a cat catches and eats a bird, a young boy takes the cat and hides it in a barn. The boy and his mother sit at their dinning room table waited on by a servant. The boy’s father takes a gun, walks out to the barn and kills the cat. He explains his actions to his young son by telling him that the nightingale, that lives close to the ground, comes from a land of love and song where claws and murder don’t exist. He goes on to explain that this bird was unable to defend it self because of the reasons he has given and that cats are the Jews of the animal kingdom! 

Bernard Vesper and Gudrun explain the politics of their publishing house.
The young boy is Bernard Vesper (August Dieh) and his father is the poet and author Will Vesper, a man who would quite happily live under the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler. We move on to 1961 and the young Vesper is now a student publisher quite happy to rebel against his father’s generation.  After meeting and falling in love with fellow student Gudrun Ennslin (played by the mannish German actress Lena Lauzemis) the pair establish a Left Wing publishing house, which ultimately brings them in contact with the future leader of the Red Army Faction - Andreas Baader (Alexander Fehling who along with Dieh appeared in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009).
Gudrun Ennslin withAndreas Baader.
Andres Veiel’s award winning movie is a relationship drama that mostly side lines the efforts of the RAF to bring about change by exposing the grip that the imperialist USA had over their German lapdogs. Instead with get a love triangle with Gudrun trying to make up her mind which one of these men she prefers. Lauzemis’s performance is an exceptional well-enacted portrayal of a young lady who was credited with forming the Red Army Faction and becoming its intellectual head. She was arrested, locked up and then allegedly murdered in her Stammheim Prison cell by the ‘authorities’ on 18th October 1977.  Nowhere near as fascinating as The Baader-Meinhof Complex (2008) or as thought provoking and informative as Children of the Revolution (2010).

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