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Rita Vogt is a radical West German terrorist who abandons the revolution and settles in East Germany with a new identity provided by the East German secret service. She lives in constant fear of having her cover blown, which unavoidably happens after the German re-unification. Written by
Marcelo R. <email@example.com>
Rita is working in a railway vehicle factory as part of her second legend, supposedly in 1989. But in one scene, when Rita is walking across the factory yard, one can clearly see car bodies of class 481 EMUs and H-Type metro vehicles, not in production until the late 1990s. See more »
You find out the world you assumed to be an ocean is a pond, the pond dries up, end of story. This is a superficial movie, with superficial characters, superficial plot, a superficial take on the world, and a superficial avoidance of the moral issues of terrorism.
The Rita of the title (Bibiana Beglau) is a fugitive West German 1970's RAF terrorist who finds asylum in E. Germany, going undercover as a working class drone, only to have the rug pulled out from her when the Iron Curtain collapses in 1989. I was hoping there would be a head-on collision between her former glamorous Bonnie-and-Clyde life-on-the-run, the life Patty Hearst was supposedly brain-washed to want, and the grim reality of suddenly finding herself a factory girl on the grand assembly line of a failed socialist state; but no, the movie, accepting her merry Marxist gloss of the world as a given, lacks the imaginative detail to flesh out much more than a plot just as glossy and glib. The ex-international killer assumes a bland blue-collar life amid the lumpen masses, so what? Nothing much else changes. In fact, she has a darn good time, going from one affair to another, keeping her idealistic flag aloft and intact throughout. When E. Germany folds and all her co-workers breath a collective sigh of relief, she shouts at them for giving up the cause, for selling out. It's good to have a cause to kill for.
The film means for us to sympathize with Rita because she knows how to live and love, because she's depicted as unselfish, idealistic, and romantic. But this insipid humanism is an insufficient counter to the savagery of killing innocent civilians. A hero so morally compromised arouses little to no audience sympathy. At best, her exotic sang-froid amorality might have sparked some interest, but even that is missing. Instead, our Rita is just a cleancut good-ol' gal, a cold-blooded killer with a heart of gold.
There's a dearth of detail: The characters, settings, and situations are sketchy and thin. We don't see much of the grit and horror of actual terrorism; it remains a poster on the wall. Neither do we get a sense of the worn-in grime and misery of industrial East Germany; it hardly seems worse than New Jersey. And what the hell was Rita thinking when she tried her last escape across a border checkpoint on a stolen motorcycle? One would have thought that such a world-seasoned terrorist as herself would have at least had the sense to flee across the border at night in some desolate area where there weren't any soldiers on the lookout for her.
At a time when the German Foreign Minister is a former cop-beating left wing extremist and the Green Party is taking over the ministries overseeing German agribusiness, one might have hoped for a more insightful juxtaposition of the politically radicalized Cold War days with the homogenized global Coca Cola economy of today. Instead, this Rita is little more than a good hippie gone bad.
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