Various – Deutschland im Herbst AKA Germany in Autumn [+Extras] (1978)

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Deutschland im Herbst (Fassbinder & Kluge & Reitz & Schlöndorff & al., 1978)
1h58 min. – 1,35 GB


In 1960s and 70s Germany, as an entire generation of young people sought to orient themselves on different influences and models than their parents’ Nazi-influenced past, disenchantment and social unrest were prevalent. Despite denazification, ex-Nazis held powerful positions in government and business. Ninety-five percent of the Bundestag in the late 60s was controlled by a coalition of the SPD and CDU headed by former Nazi Party member Kurt Georg Kiesinger.

The police killing of a peaceful protester in the Summer of 1967 sparked the beginning of violent actions by radicals known as the Red Army Fraction (RAF). The RAF quickly became the biggest challenge the West German government ever faced, culminating in a series of high-profile kidnappings and murders in the Fall of 1977 that shook the underpinnings of German society and spawned a number of conspiracy theories and widespread anger at the government’s response.

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Nachrichten von den Staufern (Alexander Kluge & Maximiliane Mainka, 1977)
22min – 333 MB

The film was produced in conjunction with a major exhibition on the Staufer family in Stuttgart. Kluge uses the material to postulate that, at all bad times throughout their thousand-year-old history, the Germans have always awaited a rescuer such as the waking Emperor Barbarossa on the Kyffhäuser.

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Neonröhren des Himmels (Alexander Kluge)
1min. – 15 MB

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Subtitles:English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian vobsubs

One comment

  1. Fassbinder’s episode in “Germany in autumn” – (omnibus film by Rainer
    Werner Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge, Volker Schlondorff, Edgar Reitz…- 1978) is
    exceptionally important work for international audiences because more and more
    countries are targeted by terrorists with various ideological motivations and
    because it compares two alternative governmental responses to the terrorist
    attack. One is solid, rational and psychologically mature – in agreement with
    democratic principles, and the other is impulsive, hysterical, indiscriminately
    vengeful – a conservative one that targets not so much perpetrators as the peaceful
    But the main accent of Fassbinder’s
    short is the depiction of how polarization of the country (Germany reacting on
    terrorist attack) on a growingly aggressive and extremist conservatives and a growingly
    fearful and desperate liberals, makes creative and culturally/politically
    active individuals (personified by Fassbinder playing himself) traumatized, disheartened and unable to think and
    create in full capacity. Serious art is the child of a democratic worldview, it
    needs a democratically fertile environment to thrive and any totalitarization
    of the atmosphere is destructive for both – for the very psychological
    substratum of democracy and for the very heart of art. As
    an actor (and self-director) Fassbinder finds an expressive means unique to him,
    to characterize his frustration and helplessness in front of a growing totalitarization
    of his country in the autumn of 1977. His own mother, Liselotte Eder (who acted
    in many of his films) and Armin Meier (his partner in life and one of his regular
    actors) play themselves as Rainer’s political opponents as they were in real life.
    L. Eder plays a philistine with a passively democratic views, and Armin – a
    person with a conservative sensibility and simplemindedly narcissistic reaction
    on the political events. The heated arguments between Fassbinder and his mother
    and his close friend became the semantic skeleton of the film. The clash of
    opposing logics and ideological orientations as they are described is very
    close to the political climate in U.S., in the 21st century and it is
    highly illuminating for the American viewers.
    Fassbinder’s painfully frank, without any embellishment of glamour and
    sentimental cosmetization, representation of a film-director (who dares to express
    critical truth not about the past but the actual present of his country), who
    is reduced by the decision-makers’ intolerance for critical speech – to his private
    life, is not easy to see. Instead of being satisfied with his status of
    super-star of the German society, Fassbinder refuses that role as a miserably
    fake one and instead shows on his own example how tragically helpless “super-stars”
    are in front of wolfs in a democratic clothing. The depiction of his desperate
    situation throughout the film is a drastic contrast to the embellished by multicolored
    wrapping papers and ribbons pop-images with which American movie-makers make themselves
    objects of idolatry for consumers hooked on fame, wealth and glamour. Fassbinder’s self-representation in
    “Germany in autumn” as a person reduced (by the government’s intolerance for
    critical speech) to a banal nudity of an entrenched isolation and despair and who
    moves around his apartment like a caged animal is his heroic deed as a human
    being and as an artist. Fassbinder’s
    short film is tormenting to watch, but after further contemplation it becomes
    an incredibly stimulating feat that teaches us how to overcome escapist vanity
    of running after fame and wealth while democracy slips away, and how to live
    with the truth. Victor

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