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Monday, February 02, 2009
PIFF film # 1 - The Baader Meinhof Complex
The Baader Meinhof Complex taught me an important life lesson. Don't piss-off German hippies. If you piss off German hippies they may just toss a Molotov cocktail into your car while you're stuck at a stoplight.
Based on a true story and a nominee for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film, director Uli Edel's thriller follows a group of recklessly idealistic and uncompromising Vietnam-era militants as they tear through the fatherland fighting a threat they deem as serious as Hitler. You see, they weren't too into the whole "American Imperialism" thing so they spent the '60s and '70s robbing banks, blowing up federal buildings and shooting guns at freeway signs when they weren't too busy hiding out in Italy or smoking cigarettes while looking cool.
Of course, their escalating wave of terror eventually gets the better of them, landing four ringleaders in prison. As their cause unravels, so does the film as its last act becomes heavily mired in courtroom drama. It's an exhaustive look at a period of left-wing radicalism almost entirely unknown to most of us in the US. Still, The Baader Meinhof Complex attempts to cover too much rather than the moments in the group's history that audiences are more likely to be interested in (ie, all the explosions, riots and gun battles).