The Baader Meinhof Complex

Uli Edel’s film about the Red Army Faction AKA The Baader Meinhof gang takes us from the late-sixties through to the late-seventies; from student demonstrations to bank robberies and kidnappings. The early part of the movie shows police brutality which no doubt led to the radicalisation of some of its victims. However, Edel chooses to follow the political degeneration of a clique of middle-class reactionaries whose minds have been warped by vanguardist Bolshevik fallacies. The dialogue makes it clear that Leninist cretin-in-chief Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu) considers his tiny cell of urban guerrillas to be in advance of ‘the masses’. One can only conclude that in Baader’s deluded idealist fantasies the role of the RAF was to prevent the working class from acting as a class in itself and for itself, and to single-handedly preserve capitalist (dis)order by injecting false-consciousness into the minds of ‘the masses’.
Andreas and his trophy blonde girlfriend Gudrun Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek) want to lead the world’s first rock ‘n’ roll neo-capitalist ‘revolution’; unlike the original Bolsheviks, the RAF reactionaries could not instigate a genuine revolution, albeit a capitalist one, because the transformation from the formal to the real domination of capital had already been accomplished.  Instead the actors, following the lead of those they portray, take their clothes off quite a lot to demonstrate how ‘liberated’ they are in comparison to their God-fearing parents. Unfortunately, Baader and Ensslin recruit hand-wringing liberal journalist Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck) to their Leninist gang, and even after being further cretinised she remains a killjoy who is never as willing to get her kit off as the other RAF ravers. Gedeck’s failure to act in a suitably nude and disorderly fashion, regardless of historical accuracy, is nearly as bad as some of the soundtrack music; this includes “Child In Time” by Deep Purple, yuk!
While I found The Baader Meinhof Complex superior to the Hollywood dreck that currently dominates cinema screens, I still couldn’t take it seriously. I’ve seen plenty of historical photographs of the Baader Meinhof gang and in them these killer clowns are considerably skinnier than the actors who portray them for Edel. In particular Moritz Bleibtreu as Andreas Baader is just too much of a porker for his role, and would have been more suited to playing the tubby 1970s terrorist Carlos Martinez. Even the title of this movie (taken from a non-fiction book by Stefan Aust) reminded me of a tome I’d read in the seventies about the rotund Latino with the white trench coat called The Carlos Complex. As long as you like comedy, and I do, this movie will keep you entertained for a couple of hours. Laughing at the bourgeois idiocies of a creep like Andreas Baader might be low comedy, but it can still raise a good belly laugh. To conclude, The Baader Meinhof Complex might be mind rot, but at least it is a better class of mind rot than you’d get from Hollywood.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Karl Marx on 2009-01-27 10:45:51 +0000

Andreas Baader and his cohorts were a bunch of petit-bourgeois deviationists, and it surprised no one when the ridiculous Red Army Faction came under the de facto control of the East German Bolshevik state, since the anti-working class agenda of the RAF meant that the reactionary DDR hand could fit inside the RAF glove perfectly, and make good use of it in its rivalry with the political gangsters of the BRD. Unfortunately this is not addressed in Edel’s film and for me the nude scenes don’t really make up for it.

Comment by Díre McCain on 2009-01-27 11:24:12 +0000

Badly written, Trippy.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-27 11:27:39 +0000

Thanks, I love it when you talk dirty! But where are the clones? Bring on the clones!

Comment by Agnetha Fältskog on 2009-01-27 11:36:52 +0000

If that’s Dire McCain making the comment above then I really am Agnetha Fältskog, the gorgeous blonde girl from Abba! It’s a klone Mister Trippy, it’s a klone!

Comment by Díre McCain on 2009-01-27 11:43:23 +0000

Poorly sung, Agnetha, poorly sung. And the black roots are showing…

Comment by Agnetha Fältskog on 2009-01-27 11:45:59 +0000

You really need to work on your Californian intonation if you’re gonna pass yourself off as Dire! I thought she gave you some great tips on yesterday’s blog too, but she clearly needs to come back on here and provide you with further pointers….

Comment by Agnetha Fältskog on 2009-01-27 11:53:41 +0000

PS. Great blog Trippy. I loved the bits about nudity. Personally I can’t get enough of hot saunas, then being beaten with birch twigs before rolling naked in the snow…. how could I ever refuse, I feel like I win when I lose?

Comment by The Digital Bruce La Bruce on 2009-01-27 13:41:50 +0000

The Revolution is my boyfriend! Fuck me up against the wall, motherfucker! Fuck me for the Revolution! Are you revolutionary enough to give up your girlfriends? Join the homosexual intifada! No revolution without sexual revolution. No sexual revolution without homosexual revolution. Out of the bedrooms into the streets! Heterosexuality is the opiate of the masses! Corporate hip hop is counter-revolutionary! Madonna is counter-revolutionary! Cornflakes are counter-revolutionary! Masturbation is counter-revolutionary!

Comment by Jean Baudrillard on 2009-01-27 13:44:18 +0000

Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!

Comment by Amadeo Bordiga on 2009-01-27 14:13:54 +0000

Lenin, Stalin, and later Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara etc. were “great romantic revolutionaries” in the 19th century sense, i.e. bourgeois revolutionaries. The Stalinist regimes that came into existence after 1945 simply extended the bourgeois revolution, i.e. the expropriation of the Prussian Junker class by the Red Army, through their agrarian policies and through the development of the productive forces. Understanding that capitalism equals the agrarian revolution is the key to understanding the 20th century; it’s certainly the key to almost everything the left has called “revolutionary” in the 20th century, and it is the key to rethinking the history of the workers’ movement and its entanglement with ideologies of industrializing backward regions of the world economy.

Comment by Díre McCain on 2009-01-27 14:30:33 +0000

‘Tis but a feeble attempt to drive a Wedge Salad between us, babyface, but everyone and their granny knows that neither of us eats bacon…

Comment by Herman Gorter on 2009-01-27 15:20:43 +0000

Andreas Baader, your tactics strove to leave society as it is, “down below”, and only to give us other leaders somewhat more of the Left trend, and is therefore purely a change “up above”. And the RAF strove to seize power as leaders. And your coup if it had been successful, would have left everything as of old, or at the very best, a slight improvement in the layers up above. No, not even if you yourself, or we ourselves, were the leaders, we would not consent to this. For we wish to see the masses themselves become more intelligent, more courageous, self- acting, more elevated in all things. We want the masses themselves to make the revolution. For only thus the revolution can triumph. And to this end all vanguardist groups – and especially groups like the RAF – must be destroyed.

Comment by Anton Pannekoek on 2009-01-27 19:17:07 +0000

The workers’ councils are the form of self-government which in the times to come will replace the forms of government of the old world. Of course not for all future; none such form is for eternity. When life and work in community are natural habit, when mankind entirely controls its own life, necessity gives way to freedom and the strict rules of justice established before dissolve into spontaneous behaviour. Workers’ Councils are the form of organisation during the transition period in which the working class is fighting for dominance, is destroying capitalism and is organising social production.
Social production is not divided up into a number of separate enterprises each the restricted life-task of one person or group; now it forms one connected entirety, object of care for the entirety of workers, occupying their minds as the common task of all. The general regulation is not an accessory matter, left to a small group of specialists; it is the principal matter, demanding the attention of all in conjunction. There is no separation between politics and economy as life activities of a body of specialists and of the bulk of producers. For the one community of producers politics and economy have now coalesced into the unity of general regulation and practical productive labor. Their entirety is the essential object for all.
This character is reflected in the practice of all proceedings. The councils are no politicians, no government. They are messengers, carrying and interchanging the opinions, the intentions, the will of the groups of workers. Not, indeed, as indifferent messenger boys passively carrying letters or messages of which they themselves know nothing. They took part in the discussions, they stood out as spirited spokesmen of the prevailing opinions. So now, as delegates of the group, they are not only able to defend them in the council meeting, but at the same time they are sufficiently unbiased to be accessible to other arguments and to report to their group opinions more largely adhered to. Thus they are the organs of social intercourse and discussion.

Comment by Jan Appel on 2009-01-27 19:24:40 +0000

Dateline 1930
IN OUR WORK ‘Fundamental Principles of Communist Production and Distribution’, the establishment of a Communist society is viewed from a quite different aspect from that which has previously been customary in the working class movement. To a certain degree it was the course of development taken by the Russian Revolution which was the causal premise, placing firmly on the agenda the necessity to carry through a closer examination of the problems of communist economic life.
It is only necessary to read the Russian ‘Factory Decrees’ to recognise that the workers there have no influence whatsoever upon the course of economic life, which inevitably leads to the conclusion that the right of disposal over the productive apparatus lies in the hands of subjectively motivated administrators and managers, and that the workers under Russian state communism have remained wage workers. In addition, one would have to be blind not to see that the profit motive is the foundation of Russian production, just as everywhere else in the capitalist world, that production is not organised to ensure the satisfaction of the needs of the producers.

Comment by ;lk; on 2009-01-27 19:32:45 +0000

Comment by Msmarmitelover on 2009-01-28 00:36:53 +0000

I don’t understand most of the comments on this page. Why can’t we talk about boys and makeup?
However I will attempt to comment on the subject matter of the post: my dad scooped the story about Astrid Proll being discovered in West Hampstead (near to where I live actually) after years on the run, living under a pseudonym. It was very exciting and he made a great deal of money from the story.
So ha!

Comment by Msmarmitelover on 2009-01-28 00:44:51 +0000

I feel like I am in a sanitorium.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-28 01:17:54 +0000

Oh we did boys and make-up yesterday… and today is headbanging left communism with a bit of Abba…. and tomorrow back to Web 2.0 I guess. Oh I couldn’t see anything about your dad scopping the story on the wiki link… but Proll escaped from a sanitorium, so maybe that is why you feel like you are in one… well you can escape….

Comment by Msmarmitelover on 2009-01-28 01:27:03 +0000

No I can’t…I’m trapped inside a white box with blue lines…clicking my heels…clicking my heels….there’s no place like home…there’s no place like home…there’s no place like Home. See I can’t get out.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-28 01:31:04 +0000

oh I’m gonna add something to the blog roll…. Noise and Politics… Datacide… maybe that is the answer.. you’re active, I’ve seen you commenting on History Is Made At Night… Neil’s blog…. there’s no one like Home… oops!

Comment by Msmarmitelover on 2009-01-28 01:34:08 +0000

I do love a stalker.
Je te donne un ‘smack’! (French for kiss).

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-28 01:52:40 +0000

oh I’ve given you a link back to your own home now….

Comment by Díre McCain on 2009-01-28 02:23:28 +0000

Yummmmmmmmy new color scheme…

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-28 02:33:30 +0000

Yeah I’ve not had time to mess around with this…. but I’m not really into pictures yet….

Comment by Msmarmitelover on 2009-01-28 15:43:19 +0000

Oh phew, thanks for the linklove.
But it’s all in reverse, Oz was black and white and Kansas is in colour.
Oz is getting a little more colourful now!

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-28 22:54:12 +0000

Hey no worries… just wanted to make sure you had a worm hole out of here when you need it!

Published At