The sources of European terrorism are examined in this fascinating, if ultimately superficial, drama. The film opens with a gang of terrorists preparing to smuggle a bomb from Italy into Germany, where it will be used in an attack on the US embassy. The children of gang members are not far
away, waiting to be shipped off to a PLO training camp for safekeeping and indoctrination, when a bearded man kidnaps one of the children. He turns out to be Boysen, the boy's father, who has split from the gang. The boy's mother, Kirchhoff, is outraged to hear that her son has been taken by
Boysen. From here the film moves back and forth in time, from the terrorists' pursuit of Boysen to Boysen's memories of his childhood as the son (Bertram) of a famous Nazi poet (Quadflieg). The story is all laid out a little too clearly to be believable, conforming to typical movie plotting, but
it remains a fascinating examination of the roots of terrorism in Europe. There are some interesting performances--particularly that of Kirchhoff as a woman who turns into a conscienceless killer while still perceiving herself a good mother and that of Quadflieg as the unrepentant Nazi poet.
Boysen's character is based on Bernward Vesper, son of Nazi poet Will Vesper. Bernward was married to Gudrun Ensslin, later a member of the notorious Baader-Meinhoff gang. After typing out a 700-page autobiographical novel that served as the source of this film, Vesper committed suicide in a
Hamburg hospital in 1971. Ensslin followed suit in 1977 in the mass suicide of the Baader-Meinhoffs in prison.
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- Released: 1986
- Rating: NR
- Review: The sources of European terrorism are examined in this fascinating, if ultimately superficial, drama. The film opens with a gang of terrorists preparing to smuggle a bomb from Italy into Germany, where it will be used in an attack on the US embassy. The ch… (more)