"Bambule" is German prison slang for "riot". This 1970 TV movie follows a day in the life of three adolescent borstal girls in Berlin: Irene escapes (but returns after she finds no bearings in the outside world), Monika is caught and transferred against her will to another home run by nuns, Iv (Evelyn) incites her room mates to riot at night. Many of the girls are lesbians; the atmosphere is so bleak, dystopic and despondent that it makes Soylent Green look like The Joy Luck Club.
This is a dated and somewhat opaque (in other words "difficult to watch") movie, so I would only recommend it to those with a historical or professional interest. The action unfolds straight away without introducing the characters first (probably the typical error of a novice script writer, although it could equally well be hubris), which meant that I had to watch the movie a second time before I could follow it, and even then I had to pay close attention.
For what it's worth, considering that it was shot on a restrictive budget (as a TV movie), that it is dealing with a complicated subject matter, and especially that the writer (Ulrike Meinhof) was poised to become one of the most vicious terrorists of her day and age, it is a surprisingly ambitious and yet balanced movie, although with the occasional formulaic touch of class struggle. I thought that the girls are displayed realistically, vulnerable and lost but at the same time aggressive, unpleasant, disoriented and unable to cooperate for a common goal. I was very surprised about the persistent lesbian theme (in fact men only appear in underparts as oppressors or tricks) as Meinhof was after all a divorced mother of two. The movie offers no perspective other than an intensification of rebellion and repression, which turned out to be the RAF's leitmotiv for the next decades; it also foreshadows Meinhof's own aggressive conduct in prison just two years later.
15 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?