Reinhard Hauff / D, 1985
German / Czech subtitles, 107 min

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Gast: Reinhard Hauff

The Stuttgart district of Stammheim was the setting for one of the most controversial trials in German post-War history. The accused were Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe – leading figures in the Red Army Faction (RAF) or “Baader-Meinhof Gang.” From 1972, they sat in isolation, “cut-off” from the other prisoners in the top-security wing of Stammheim prison. Because of the risk of an attack, a highly fortified courtroom was specially built right beside the prison building. This was the place where a trial began in 1975, which lasted an incredible 192 days, during which constitutional principles were breached despite fierce public criticism. Several times in the course of proceedings, laws were changed. Because of the highly charged political nature of the trial, the judge was completely overburdened. Motions by the accused were not taken into consideration and confidential conversations between the defendants and their lawyers were bugged. Ulrike Meinhof committed suicide in her cell while the trial was in progress. Baader, Ensslin and Raspe were sentenced to life in prison. After an unsuccessful attempt by the RAF to free their comrades, the remaining three prisoners took their own lives.

Based on the records that have been preserved, this film by Reinhard Hauff („Knife in teh Head“) reconstructs the trial according to a screenplay by Stefan Aust. It illustrates the harsh nature of the confrontation between the state and its opponents. The action is confined almost exclusively to the courtroom and the film uses the original, recorded quotes of those present. The movie eschews all political commentary and dramatic embellishment in favour of remaining faithful to the original trial and maintaining a neutral position. It won a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1986.

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