(Starbuck - Holger Meins)
Gerd Conradt / D, 2001
German / Czech and English subtitles, 92 min
Starbuck was the name of the first mate of the “Pequod” whaling ship in Herman Melville’s legendary novel Moby Dick. That was also the name they gave Holger Meins, when he turned to terrorism with the Red Army Faction (RAF) and then died in jail after fifty days on hunger strike in protest at being held in isolation. He was the first RAF member to die in custody.
In his films, documentary-maker Gerd Conradt repeatedly returns to the subject of the student movement in Germany and the RAF. He got to know Holger Meins eight years before he died when they were studying together at the German Film and TV Academy in Berlin. His film montage “Starbuck Holger Meins” attempts to study the character of his former friend and fellow student. Conradt shows images and clips from the films of the artistically talented Meins and presents them in the context of his increasingly radical view of the world. At the same time, a very diverse range of contemporaries give their thoughts on Conradt’s subject. These include people such as Rudi Dutschke’s widow, Gretchen, filmmaker Harun Farocki and Meins’s father, as well as former Detective Superintendent Alfred Klaus from Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) anti-terrorism division. What emerges is a colourful portrait of how a young artist evolved into a terrorist for the Red Army Faction.