One night when seeking his estranged wife, Hoffmann goes to the youth center where she works. The police are there rounding up radicals who frequent the center - Hoffmann runs into the ... See full summary »
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One night when seeking his estranged wife, Hoffmann goes to the youth center where she works. The police are there rounding up radicals who frequent the center - Hoffmann runs into the building and ends up being shot in the head. He awakens with brain trauma, partially paralyzed and unable to speak. The police accuse him of stabbing an officer; the radicals herald him as an innocent victim of police brutality. During his slow recovery at the hospital, Hoffmann must piece together his life and struggle to remember the events of that night. Written by
According to reports at the time, the Federal Republic of Germany (or "West Germany," as it was known then,) became somewhat of a police state in the mid-70's.
The embarrassing, massive blunder of the Munich '72 Olympics segued into the Baader-Meinhoff, and at some point the German government started using police tactics that had more to do with Orwellian practices than civil rights. This movie reflects that, and it does so while showing the arduous process experienced by its protagonist (admirably played by Bruno Ganz,) who must literally rewire his brain after the forces of the State almost kill him by mistake and then try to blame him in order to cover things up.
There must have been a measure of freedom left in W. Germany for this movie to have come out somehow. Is Ganz's recovery (from vegetable back to human being after having had his memory wiped out) an allegory of Germany itself (from Nazism to freedom and back to a police state again)? Go figure. All I know is that is movie left an indelible impression in my mind, which is saying a lot in an era when German cinematography was coming up with a gem every other month.
Seek it out.
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