a bbc reporter tried to ask guido westerwelle, head of germany’s pro-business FDP party and the man poised to become the first gay vice chancellor and foreign minster of germany, if he could ask him a question in english. westerwelle replied, ‘if you would be so kind, because this is a press conference in germany…. (bbc reporter speaks). please understand when we are in the uk, it is customary there that you, naturally, speak english, when we are in germany, here it is customary that we speak german.’ westerwelle does speak some english. aside from germany’s ex-foreign minister joschka fischer, who famously gave his anti-iraq speech at the UN in near flawless english, most german politicans shy away from speaking english on camera.
Archive for the ‘joschka fischer’ Category
the baader meinhof komplex, produced by bernd eichinger, is the sensation of the moment in germany. directed by uli edel, the film seemingly goes out of its way not to express an opinion about the subject matter. it painstakingly dodges praising the acts of andreas baader, ulrike meinhof and gundrun ensslin. as it probably should. yet nor is it directly or indirectly a criticism of the group. it’s more of a presentation of them and their acts, warts and all without pressing our buttons and pulling our strings. the sets are realistically lit. and the backdrop of 60s and 70s berlin is stark and gray.
martina gedeck, who gave a star turn in the oscar winning film ‘das leben den anderen’ (the lives of others), plays ulrike meinhof who was part of the baader meinhof first generation anti-capitalist RAF gang that terrorized germany from 1968 to their deaths in 1977. moritz bleibtreu, who first made his name with ‘run lola run,’ portrays andreas baader, the high school drop out. johanna wokalek gives a solid performance as gudrun ensslin, who according to the ever reliable wikipedia was a descendent of philosopher georg wilhelm frederick hegel.
this film about the group that spawned far too many industrial and punk rock tunes is more of a series of events than a plot driven film. it comes out in november in the uk. and is already getting solid reviews. although this one from the independent asks if its a tasteless action film. due to the insularity of the u.s. film industry, this probably won’t make it to the u.s. anytime soon, if ever. but the film does a good job of showing a 10 year period of german history from the student demonstrations of 1968 to the end days of the founding members of the RAF. you can watch trailers and clips at kino.de.
for those who are weary of hearing about world war 1 world war 2 and would like to know a little bit about modern german history and the 68 generation, which spawned germany’s ex-foreign minister joschka fischer, this film is a definite primer.