Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei

[Screenshot]This one is storywise good, and shows competent cinemacraft. Where it bugs me is ideology.

Let’s start with the acting, and the straightforward aspects of the film. The central four actors emote well and do a great job with what they’re given. I didn’t know of them before now, but I’m not well-versed in German films, so I can’t be surprised. Nonetheless, they’re good at what they do, and they’re given a pretty decent script to follow (at least as far as I can tell from translation).

So, on to ideology. This film has a distinctly sympathetic viewpoint, and it wants us to sympathize with Jan and Jule (and, to a lesser extent, Peter). The problem is that their attitudes are completely idiotic. They’re angry, and justifiably, but their anger isn’t directed towards any constructive sort of change. They have no real agenda. This seems to fly with some crowd, based on how many hogh-school anarchists there are around, but it doesn’t really work to tear down a system unless you actually have a reason to believe you can improve it. Hardenberg, whose viewpoint is not sympathetically presented, explicitly asks them what they mean to accomplish. They don’t really have an answer, and as far as I can tell nobody involved with the film had a problem with that. They probably should have.

I’m just kind of bugged that we have a tailor-made conflict which could really illuminate the purposes of revolution. We have a lot of dialogue between the battle-scarred, cynical ex-revolutionary and the young purposeless idealists. There’s room for these ideas to meet in the middle gloriously. Instead, we get an epilogue which firmly establishes the rule of the day: starry-eyed idealism without goals makes you a hero, realistic resignation makes you a villain.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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