Germany In Autumn : Summary

Length: 123 Min. Format: 35mm Colour and b/w

Premeiere: 03.03.1978, Berlin, IFF (FBW "especially valuable")

German Film Award 1978 (Film Ribbon in Gold)

Eleven directors attempt to illustrate the situation and atmosphere in the Federal Republic of Germany after the abduction of Hanns-Martin Schleyer and the collective suicide of the arrested terrorists in Stammheim in the autumn of 1977. It is a broad range of disparate approaches which differ in their quality and methodology: from a social-critical comedy of manners to the antagonism of art and politics (Böll/Schlöndorff), from a dialectic montage of documentary images (Kluge) to the merciless physical and mental self-exposure (Fassbinder). All in all, the film is, especially due to its inconsistencies and weaknesses, an authentic reflection on German mental disposition in a crisis.

Schlöndorff’s segment - based on a script by Heinrich Böll – centres on a meeting of television executives who have commissioned a teleplay of Sophocles’ Antigone. While satisfied with the result, they’re worried that the story – which involves “terroristic women”, a refusal of burial, and ends in suicide – could be misinterpreted as a political statement, even an ambiguous one. “Irony is one thing we can do without right now,” they conclude. In the end, they decide not to scrap the film, but rather to “put it on ice until quieter times”.