A German Youth
The ‘60s and ‘70s were a time of great global upheaval. A particularly incendiary case was West Germany, a nation split by damning ideologies, a postwar generation and warmongering allies. The legacy of Nazi Germany with its many adherents still in power provoked a fervent youth movement to question the very legitimacy of the State. From this rapidly spreading resistance, rose the Movement’s most lethal offshoot, the Red Army Faction, or as the media was wont to call it, the Baader-Meinhof Gang. To find an entry point into this contentious history, director Jean-Gabriel Périot relies solely on a revealing collection of found and archival footage that he plies with uncanny eloquence, especially in its many intriguing glimpses of Ulrike Marie Meinhof, spokesperson for the hardcore Left. Periot’s chronological collage finds a second equally intriguing entry point in Berlin’s DFFB (the German Film Academy) where a radical group of young filmmakers spurred on political unrest through their inflammatory films, most famously Holger Meins’s How to Make a Molotov Cocktail. A German Youth is particularly provocative in its plotting of the path from the optimistic fury of the first ‘60s protests to the smoldering resentment of the ‘70s that led Andreas Baader, Meinhof and others to their explosive end.