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Journeys from Berlin/1971 (1980)

An epic meditation on psychoanalysis, the Baader-Meinhof, feminism, and pre-revolutionary Russia.


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Credited cast:
Annette Michelson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vito Acconci
Cynthia Beatt
Ilona Halberstadt
Lena Hyun
Leon Rainer
Yvonne Rainer
Ruth Rainero
Antonio Skármeta
Amy Taubin
Gabor Vernon
Chad Wollen


An epic meditation on psychoanalysis, the Baader-Meinhof, feminism, and pre-revolutionary Russia.

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Release Date:

January 1980 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

like a bad film school project
5 November 2004 | by (Portland Oregon) – See all my reviews

*spoiler alert*

OH.MY.GOD. where to start? first, confession time. i only saw this because it was sent to me by mistake instead of "Doom Generation". this indie production by Yvonne Rainer, a choreographer/filmmaker, alleges to be an apologia ofe Baader-Meinhoff gang in the German Federal Republic of the '60s and '70s. but it veers off in tangents and seemingly unrelated images so that it is all over the map. it starts off with a young woman narrator trying to explain her conversion from a bougie self-indulgent student with too much time on her hands to a dedicated revolutionary realizing the necessity of violence to overthrow the State. unfortunately all her arguments just seem to accent the former. she despairs of doing jury duty in rape cases because the defendants always seem to be black(presumably American GIs).she then goes on to empathize with the "working class" to such an exaggerated extent that she bursts into tears merely shopping for shoes! come on lady! at least that gal had a job!

next a series of written statements scroll by designed to show the increasing tide of repression in the Bundesrepublik which led to the rise of the Baader-Meinhoff gang. unfortunately this does not work either because of the omission of crucial information. step one: 1961 the rise of the Berlin Wall- without mentioning that it was the GDR that put it up, not the West! step 2: 1968 a street rally/riot is listed as a turning point. much is made of the fact that 2 people died from stones without mentioning who would have been throwing those stones. the police? i think not. they are way better armed. step 3: 1970 Ulrike Meinhoff helps spring Baader from jail. he had gotten a cushy library job off the prison site and he was sprung from that. mention is made that an elderly librarian was killed, conveniently forgetting to state who killed him. if it's a jailbreak and no cops are around that kind of narrows it down doesn't it?

then the film does a 180 and starts in with a pseudo-interview with an older woman who one thinks initially is the narrators mother but really is mouthing the views of Yvonne Rainer herself. she rambles on and on about the Revolution and Feminism. one moment she is talking about women revos in Czarist Russia, then denying the need for the institution of marriage, especially as justification for children. and then she gets personal and slams her husband for being a lousy lover and only lasting 32 minutes in the sack! i know a lot of folks who would be quite happy with that...also kept harping about suicide. then she name-drops about hooking up with playwright Samuel Beckett. overall she came off as a frustrated lesbian hag.

amidst all this she puts in all sorts of visuals that have nothing at all to do with the supposed story: repeated shots of Stonehenge, a strange pagoda-like building, and lots of cheesy art. all this led me to do a little research on Rainer, and sure enough, she says that one of the main purposes of her movies is "to confound". well you got that right sister! oh- she finally came out of the closet in 1991. only for the avant-garde crew.

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