films and documentaries The Third Generation

The director of The Third Generation (“Die Dritte Generation”), Rainer Werner Fassbinder, was friends with Andreas Baader during their teenage years. Fassbinder was also generally considered a left-wing director, so this film must have come as a jolt to those expecting to find a film supportive of terrorist causes.

Die Dritte Generation is pessimistic enough to concoct a grand coalition between terrorists and the wealthy power brokers; the kidnappings and attacks are merely jointly coordinated fodder for dada-esque jokes on society. Coming only about a year after the kidnapping and brutal murder by the Red Army Faction of Hanns-Martin Schleyer, this film must have disturbed many people by presenting a Schleyer-like character that actually helps plan his own kidnapping for fun.

This film departs from the typical Douglas Sirk-style melodrama that populate Fassbinder’s career, but equals those films in quality. Fassbinder was never anything less than shocking, and he doesn’t disappoint with this film.