The controversial winner of the 1986 Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear Award, STAMMHEIM is based on the much-publicized Baader-Meinhof terrorist trials that shook the very foundation of Germany from 1975 to 1977. Based on the trial transcripts, the film takes place almost entirely in the
Stammheim Prison in Stuttgart, West Germany, as the five defendants--Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin, Jan-Carl Raspe, and Holger Meins--are brought before the judge and accused of the murder of four US servicemen in a terrorist bombing attack. After a hunger strike at the trial's
start, Meins dies. The next to die is Meinhof, an apparent suicide. As the trial stretches on, Baader, Ensslin, and Raspe continuously disrupt the proceedings with accusations that they are being purposely undernourished and spied upon. The trial proceeds at the most tense of levels--Baader and
his defending lawyers refusing to abide by the rules of German law, while the prosecution struggles to retain a sense of order.
Although STAMMHEIM is set almost entirely in a courtroom and based on court transcripts, it is as far from what one might expect. Rather than having the order and rigidity of a trial, the film explodes with the dynamics of the verbal battle between the defendants and the prosecutors. More than
just a courtroom drama, STAMMHEIM is an examination of human nature and what happens to people when they refuse to buckle to the pressure of their oppressors. Whether or not the Baader-Meinhof group was guilty is not important to the film. What is important is to watch the accused fight against a
political and judicial system that they believe is wrong.
Not surprisingly, this film split as many opinions as the trial itself did. At a press screening at the Zoo Palast Theater in Berlin, a squad of riot police was brought into the lobby because of fears that demonstrators would incite a riot. When the film was awarded the Golden Bear, festival judge
Gina Lollobrigida, who was outspoken in her dislike for the film, refused to acknowledge it during the awards ceremony.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1986
- Rating: NR
- Review: The controversial winner of the 1986 Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear Award, STAMMHEIM is based on the much-publicized Baader-Meinhof terrorist trials that shook the very foundation of Germany from 1975 to 1977. Based on the trial transcripts, the film t… (more)