films and documentaries Stammheim

Stammheim is a fairly remarkable 1986 film about the trial and imprisonment of the leaders of the Red Army Faction. It was written by Stefan Aust and appeared shortly after his masterwork, “Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex” was published.

Stammheim follows the trial very closely and clearly hews tightly to actual transcripts of court proceedings. Like “The Baader-Meinhof Komplex” film of 2008 (also based on Aust’s work), this film doesn’t really formulate an opinion about whether Meinhof, Ensslin, Raspe, and Baader were murdered. But it is also much less explicit than the later movie in showing how it was clearly possible (and maybe even likely) that the prisoners killed themselves.

The actors are uniformly excellent; particularly Therese Affolter as Meinhof.

Like virtually every movie that touches on the Baader-Meinhof era, this movie was controversial upon release. It was screened at the Berlin International Film festival and the judges were starkly drawn over the movie; ultimately a divided judging corps awarded it the Golden Bear.

This film is currently only available in Germany; I don’t believe that it has English subtitles on the DVD release, but I might be mistaken.