Do not miss the film "The Baader-Meinhof Complex" which is available on Netflix. It's the story of how some youth in Germany, who grew up during the Holocaust, reacted to what they saw was a continuation of that world view in Viet Nam and else where in the 1960s/70s. Gudrun, a Ph.D student depicted above was one of the leaders. What happens at that moment in time is directly linked to today's violent political scene in the middle east.
I see a lot of films and this one stunned me. I guess because the story is based on fact and because the people in the film seemed so familiar and brave, naive, arrogant and reckless. Given their youth--probably a bit of all those qualities informed their decisions.
It's also one of those "10 minute university" experiences where a lot of disparate information that has been floating around in your head all these years gets put together.
I am not going to go into details- you know if you're the type to appreciate something like this. All I can say is WOW!
A little research on the members of the Red Army Faction, which included a journalist , a lawyer and several other students turned up more context for the film. In the 60s & 70s German industry and the government was still infiltrated with Nazis at all levels and some of the younger generation doubted any type of justice for themselves and the Third World was possible with the old generation still in charge. I knew the United States government helped Nazis escape but it seems cynical that the " Nazi hunters" themselves focused on those in the US and elsewhere rather than in Germany. Was this some kind of game that was being played? In exchange the US becomes the center for Holocaust Studies that focus on the experience in the camps rather than showing the political machinations between governments after the fact. I'm saying it is easier to focus on emotion laden personal experiences of horror in the camps where the US can come off with unbloodied hands than to focus on US relations that allowed perpetrators of crimes to live happily ever after in Germany.
The film itself also has parallels with our conservative media and FOX news channel- the students start blowing up companies associated with SPRINGER broadcasting in Germany because the Nazi rooted company owns and controls the media and lazy German journalists seem to be less than capable of rooting out the political truth in Germany.
Some reviews note Germany was over run with CIA at the time and that some of the RAF killings--especially of civilians--were CIA operations. The strategy here is that scaring the citizenry meant a blank check for repression of rights a la 9-11 in the US.
All in the name of safety!
The film is action packed and disturbing. I'm still sorting things out in my head. Something about the oppressive feeling of the film also seemed to reflect, for me, how I feel about the political situation in the United States right now. It doesn't feel good.
I forget who directed this thing but he did a good job. See it. The kid on the right belongs to a religious sect that doesn't allow kids to watch TV. He runs into the kid on the left who is smart and screwed up and making a Rambo film. What I loved most was a book of scribblings/drawings by the kid on the right. It made me want to do a picture diary for my own pleasure. The director also uses animation in unexpected places in what is mostly a smart film about friendship. There are adults peppered through out but it is all pretty much the kids point of view. And yes we see quite a bit of their film making. SON OF RAMBOW available on NETFLIX.
I'm not sure I'm going to finish this book because it is so B-O-R-I-N-G. Not the information per se but the way it is written. Like a 1950s cookbook. Raymond Carver was a great writer and alcoholic and as he was from Washington I thought I'd check out his wife's version of reality. They met when she was 15 in Yakima and married when she was 17. Not trailer trash-she seemed to be a young girl who valued education and all that. Went to a private girl's school in Walla Walla. I'm up to the point where they married and she confirmed she is pregnant and I feel asleep from the boredom. I may plow a little more. I'm interested because I remember reading about Carver when I was into John Gardner- his mentor. Carver was one of those genius/drunks who rued the day he got stuck with a wife and kids that sucked his creative juices dry. Then I got into John Cheever and there is Raymond Carver drinking his brains out with another alcoholic. Anyway I got the male perspective but I thought her tale might be worth a few minutes. I think what I will decide is Maryann Carver was a nice lady but Tess Gallagher--Carver's second poet wife- was an interesting lady. I understand choosing interesting over nice. We'll see. The title of the book is WHAT IT USED TO BE LIKE by Maryann Carver. That's her at 15 in the pix. I'll let you know if there is any improvement.
Just found another great article on the Seattle Camera Club in the April 1977 issue of Pacific Northwest Quarterly. It's an article by Carol Zabilski on Seattle photographer Kyo Koike(1878-1947. The article has quite a few of his photographs so it is definitely worth getting as a back issue.
I also found a nice article written by Koike in a 1925 issue of Camera Craft--see what happens when you start organizing all your papers. The article in Camera Craft is great because Koike discusses the contribution of the Japanese aesthetic (principles of composition surrounding sumi and wood block prints)to this new melding of east and west in photography.
Zabilski's article in PNQ does a good job of adding a spiritual layer to the work of pictorialists- or at least to that of Koike who also wrote haiku and seems to have been greatly effected by the power of Mt. Rainier and the natural environment in the Northwest. Was Koike influenced by photographers in Japan? Zabilski suggests Koike, who was a physician, took his first photographs upon arriving in Seattle in 1919 so it was an artistic endeavor nurtured in his new home country.
Koike seems to have kept his life in Japan hidden and he never married which makes me wonder if one of the reasons he left Japan might have had something to do with his sexuality. Well whatever---he left behind a striking body of work within the pictorialist tradition. Zabilski said he carried his camera with him always until he was interned. Once released he returned to Seattle and started making images again. Koike died "picking spring fern shoots" on March 31, 1947.
The University of Washington digital site has some Seattle Camera Club images online. Martin-Zambito Gallery in Seattle has some images and David Martin, one of the proprietors, is publishing a book on the Seattle Camera Club in 2010 after single handedly championing their work for many years. Martin's book will be published by the University of Washington Press.
Hiromu Kira was one of the founding members of the Seattle Camera Club which lasted until the late 1920s. I've always found the Japanese aesthetic edgy but the twist here is the influence of these Japanese photographers, American immigrants, on art photography in the United States.
If you want to know more about these photographers on the West Coast and the effect of the internment on their careers start with a book by Dennis Reed- Japanese Photography in America, 1920-1940. The book has a good balance of biographical information, historical context and art analysis. Plus examples of some amazing early photographic work that should be better known.