Deutschland im Herbst (Germany in Autumn)

With actors Wolfgang Bächler Heinz Bennent, Wolf Biermann, Joachim Bissmeier

The collaborative film entitled Deutschland im Herbst from Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge and a host of other directors from the New German Cinema is an amalgamation of short films that detail the prevailing sociopolitical sentiments in the Federal Republic of Germany during the immediate aftermath of the murder of Hans-Martin Schleyer and suicides of the Rote Armee Fraktion leaders Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe in the Stammheim prison of Stuttgart on October, 18 1977. Through depictions of the various events that surrounded the so-called Todesnacht von Stammheim, the film sets out to show how post-1968 West Germany dealt with the suicides of three of the founders of the notorious RAF, who through their own actions and the authoritarian crackdown of the state were driven underground and into the violent urban-guerilla movement of the 1970s.

The final scene of the film, live footage from the burial of the three terrorists, shows the widespread feeling of solidarity that the RAF received from the new German left – this is not to say that the left agreed with the RAF’s actions, but that they sympathized with the measures that lead the RAF down their self-destructive path. Images of young people with scarves and bandanas covering their faces as a means of hiding their identity from the authorities while attending the funeral show that Germans were willing to publicly display their sympathy for the terrorists, but were highly weary of the intrusive actions of the state. This powerful scene shows the capacity of Germans to accept groups that have been driven to the rand of society, such as current day migrants, in face of disapproving governmental policies.

by Michael Silva

Links: IMDB, Film Portal

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