01
Jan
09

Vergangenheitsbewältigung

A composite German word describing the process of coming to terms with ones past, vergangenheitsbewältigung, has become part of the core political culture of contemporary Germany. The new German Film, Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex, has attracted much attention throughout Europe, as it follows the vergangenheitsbewältigung theme.

this film looks at another chapter in German history: the rise, during the 1970s, of a radical left-wing group called the Red Army Faction (or the Baader-Meinhof Gang, after its leaders, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof). Obviously, the group’s crimes were in no way analogous to those of the Nazis; the RAF ultimately murdered 34 people, while the Nazis murdered millions. Still, an honest reckoning with the past is exactly what the movie attempts. And, in providing a frank and unsentimental depiction of the brutal excesses associated with 1960s radicalism, it sets an example that Hollywood would do well to follow.

Hollywood could take a few pointers from German film producers. No major American film has dealt with topics regarding similiar domestic radicalism of Weatherman, or even the Black Panthers, with as equal honesty as German producers.

Read the entire review, via The New Republic.

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