The Baader-Meinhof Complex Analysis

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Movie Review: The Baader-Meinhof Complex (2008) Director: Uli Edel | Screenplay: Bernd Eichinger Based on “The Baader-Meinhof Complex” by Stefan Aust “The Baader-Meinhof Complex” is a German movie directed by Uli Edel, based on the famous non-fiction of the same name by Stefan Aust. It follows the rise and fall of the West German far-left terrorist group Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF) during the 1960s-1970s, mainly through the events surrounding its first-generation leadership comprising Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin. The movie opens with a series of rallies and protests, which capture the essence of West Germany’s highly politicized society at that time. Demands against the exploitation of impoverished third world countries,…show more content…
This proves to be an unfeasible feat given Aust’s personal contacts with various RAF members and Edel’s first-hand experience during that time. Indeed, the movie serves more as an examination into the violent urban guerrilla “complex”. The title itself is not only in line with the then-West German press’ attempt to depoliticize and delegitimize the self-proclaimed militant group (by refusing to call them “Red Army Faction”), but it also goes a step further in pathologizing the militant gang. It suggests that such extreme violence was driven by psychological rather than ideological causes. This is palpable through the lackadaisical character development of Andreas Baadar, who is better suited as a pure villain than a shrewd revolutionary leader. Baadar makes up for his lack of coherent plan and political agenda with the excess of racist/ sexist slur and affinity for untamed violence. Like Baadar’s depiction, Meinhof’s does not cut for a convincing case either. Before her terrorist streaks, Meinhof is already a leading intellectual voice for the leftist movement. Her decision to join the gang is impetuous at best, seemingly driven by her husband’s extramarital affair rather than any strongly convicted ideology. For most of the time, she is depicted as a naïve intellectual, whose logic and rationality were drowned by the other members’ revolutionary fervor. Indeed, her purported suicide at the end of the movie is no longer an outcry against the “Isolation Torture”, but a desperate attempt to desert her RAF comrades. Was this the director’s subtle expression of sympathy for Meinhof (a sentiment expressed widely among many activists in far-left milieu upon news of her self-radicalization) or was it an astute calculated move which seeks to indict the senseless violence of RAF members? This leaves us viewers
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