Friday, 8 January 2016

Film #36: Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer / The People vs. Fritz Bauer

Released: 2015
Directed by: Lars Kraume

Well I think it's fair to say that all my good intentions for watching lots of German films - and writing about them - went completely out the window in 2015! According to the list I made, I watched a total of 90 films last year, 32 of them in the cinema. Of those 32, only 2 were German films watched in UK cinemas, which I find a bit sad. I know there was at least 1 other German film released over here (which I missed because I was ill), but that's still a pretty poor showing. Still, maybe Deutschland 83, which began showing on British TV last Sunday, will prove really popular and prompt the showing of more German films?

Of the two films I watched in the cinema during my trip to Basel, I only wrote a full review of Er ist wieder da. My review of Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer never fully took shape, and it was too long ago to write a detailed review now, but here are the thoughts I did manage to commit to paper: 

Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer is the story of the man who brought Adolf Eichmann to justice, and incorporates elements of the detective novel and film noir to create an entertaining experience. I don’t know much about the real Fritz Bauer, so I can’t say whether Burghart Klaußner’s portrayal is accurate. However, the older members of the audience seemed to take really well to his performance, and I thought it was great. Faced with opposition and behind-the-scenes skulduggery from the people supposedly on his side, he is forced to resort to serious and risky measures to positively identify Eichmann and set the wheels in motion for his arrest. 

I also cannot say whether the film sticks to the real facts, but I believe the plot is a realistic depiction of the struggles Bauer faced in bringing high-ranking Nazis to justice. In the film, he is aided by Karl Angermann, a composite character invented for the film to reflect aspects of Bauer’s various colleagues. Angermann also has his secrets, and is targeted for blackmail by the people working against Bauer. This is the aspect of the film that could negatively affect its certification if released in the UK - there is little swearing or violence, but one sexual scene would probably lead it to receive a higher rating. 

I really enjoyed the film and think it would appeal to people who would normally go to see things like Bridge of Spies. Hopefully we'll see a UK release!

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