Germany does not have a tradition of jokes about lawyers. Any Brit or American will definitely come up with three or four jokes like
My father is a lawyer. - Honest? - No, the regular kind.
But Germans, after all, do not have a sense of humour - or do they? Watching this film, you might definitely think they do.
This film is a documentary about three lawyers, Horst Mahler, Otto Schily and Hans-Christian Stroebele, who were active in the "APO" movement (an opposition movement outside Germany's parliament) and who used to defend RAF terrorists like Gudrun Ensslin, Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader later on.
You see old film material and even a few scenes from old "Tagesschau" news about demonstrations against the Vietnam War, and how the student Benno Ohnesorg is killed during a demonstration against the Shah's visit. This all influences the three lawyers and turns them against the state with its brutal police force. But hey, this was the 1960s and 1970s.
Later on, Mahler and Schily get more and more mainstream, and it is quite spooky to see Schily making speeches in parliament (and occasionally sounding a bit like Hitler) and turning more and more right-wing. So he quits the Green Party and joins the Social Democratic Party and becomes a law-and-order man when he is Minister of the Interior. Mahler's development is even eerier, because he, formerly a member of the RAF, turns into a fully-fledged (neo-) Nazi who denies the Holocaust and is therefore sent to prison.
The only lawyer who has not turned into a joke of his former self is Stroebele, who sticks to his left-wing pacifist ideals. This is probably why he is the only Green politician who is directly elected to Germany's parliament and does not get his seat because of the Green Party's percentage in the elections.
I very much liked this film because it gives you a good idea of the late 1960s and 1970s in Germany - a time I am highly interested in. I can still well remember the RAF times, seeing the "Wanted" posters in every German post office, and I was in Heidelberg when the RAF tried to kill US Army General FJ Kroesen.
For everyone interested in Germany's post-war history, this is a must-see. I'm a brainy girl, not a brawny man, and so I found this film much more thrilling than any action film on offer.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this