Germany In Autumn

The year is 1977… Tensions in West Germany spiral when prominent businessman Hanns-Martin Schleyer is kidnapped by the Red Army Faction (RAF) in a bid to secure the release from jail of organization leaders Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof, Gudrun Ennslin and Jan-Carl Raspe. In response to the dubious suicides the same day of Baader, Meinhof, Ennslin and Raspe in Stammheim Prison, the RAF murders Schleyer. A mood of utter paranoia prevails in the country: everyone is talking of terrorism, and the surveillance and security policies pursued by the government are the subject of intense debate. Hailed as one of the landmark films of New German Cinema, the 1978 production Germany in Autumn is an omnibus film made with the collaboration of 11 directors, and stands as a testimonial to these troubled times. The 11 directors included the likes of Alexander Kluge, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Edgar Reitz and Volker Schlöndorff, all pivotal figures in the New German Cinema wave. The resulting collection of short films was assembled using an editing approach distinct from similar collaborative projects. Some of the films are documentary in style, others lean more towards fiction, and each reflects the individual perspective of the particular director on the period. The film is marked at either end by footage of two funerals: Schleyer’s state funeral at the beginning and the joint funerals of the RAF members at the end. It also features various interviews by Kluge and the director’s trademark use of collages and citations from his own films. Indeed, Germany in Autumn stands more as a practical demonstration of Alexander Kluge’s theories on working collaboratively than a portmanteau film of the kind we are used to. Ultimately, in fact, the directors produced a ‘single feature-length film’ despite their very different styles. Some may bring the most intimate moments of their personal lives to the screen (Fassbinder), and others present the world of television through references to An


Heinrich Boell
Peter Steinbach

Dietrich Lohmann
Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein
Jürgen Juerges
Michael Ballhaus

Angela Winkler
Franziska Walser
Heinz Bennent
Helmut Griem
Katja Rupé
Wolf Biermann
Wolfgang Bächler

Film Award in Gold German Film Awards

15th Festival on Wheels