Close Up

23 November 2019: Germany in Autumn


Germany in Autumn
Various, 1978, 134 min
German with English subtitles

A portmanteau film by Henrich Boll, Alf Brustellin, Hans Peter Cloos, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge, Maximiliane Mainka, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus, Edgar Reitz, Katja Rupe, Volker Schlöndorff, Peter Schubert, Bernhard Sinkel and Peter Steinbach.

"The kidnapping of prominent ex-Nazi and Mercedes-Benz executive Hans-Martin Schleyer, the hijacking and rescue of a Lufthansa airliner, the suspicious deaths of the leaders of the Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany's highest security prison, and the threat of government crackdowns against left-wing intellectuals during the Fall of 1977 are the political background to this important collective work. Many politically concerned filmmakers, including Kluge, Fassbinder and Schlöndorff, resolved to make a film, necessarily without government subsidy, exploring many of the ramifications of the events excluded from government- and right-wing-controlled news coverage... They synthesize newsreels from Germany's Nazi past... popular illustrations, mock 1920s agit-prop films, and fictional sketches reflecting the pervasive mood of paranoia with documentary footage from Schleyer's and the terrorists' funerals to create a collage unified by many subtle thematic and visual echoes. Their purpose is not to provide a propagandistic political analysis, but to open striking historical as well as emotional perspectives on... an exceptionally difficult national crisis." – Stuart Liebman