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A film that stays with you
rosscinema28 August 2002
This is the type of film that I wish were made more often. Volker Schlondorff reminds us that he's still a terrific director and really has gone back to his roots with this film. Rita is presented as a terrorist. Then seems to have left the revolution for another life and hope her past doesn't catch up. Were not suppose to feel pity or hatred towards this woman. Just watch and experience a fascinating character that is presented and not judge her morals. Hollywood would have ruined this film by making Rita sympathetic. Bibiana Beglau plays Rita and she is absolutely magnificent. Strong, smart and opinionated. But she's also vulnerable so her character is very interesting to watch. Beglau has a real presence on film and the strength of her personality shows throughout this film. I cannot wait to see her again in another film. Schlondorff's film and its portrayal of Rita is unflinching. The last scene in the film comes suddenly and leave's a haunting image in our psyche. The song that plays as the film ends I found to be very affecting and helps create an indelible aura for the film. Very strong film by a great director and acted by a great talent in Beglau.
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A Masterful Peeling from the German Onion
johnpetersca9 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The Legend of Rita, this movie's English-language title, is not as hokey as it initially sounds. "Legend" was the term used by the East German Secret Police (the Stazi) for the cover stories created to disguise the identities of West German terrorists who had been secretly granted asylum in the East. The German title, Die Stille nach dem Schuss (literally The Stillness after Rapid Action), is a German phrase that sounds fine in its original language but is too abstract for colloquial translation of a film that is, among other things, an effective thriller.

"Schuss" in the original title refers to the bank robberies and killings shown at the beginning of the film and "Stille" to the subsequent life, east of the Berlin Wall, of Rita Vogt, a member of a terrorist cell determined to change the world by violent action. She is a fictitious character, a composite of several real people. Eleven such individuals from West Germany, did, in fact, find refuge in the East, but only on condition that they live peacefully as ordinary workers and have no contact with one another. Director Volker Schlöndorff says, in a lengthy audio commentary that accompanies silent images from the film on its Kino Video DVD, that "the episodes are authentic but the characters are somewhat fictitious." The "somewhat fictitious" Rita is assigned two identities during her years in East Germany. Initially, she works in a textile factory and develops a passionate friendship with an East German woman. Then, following her identification by another worker, she is given a new legend and becomes a child care worker for a state agency. In this identity, she falls in love with an engineer who has been assigned to work for five years in Moscow. They want to marry and have children but the Stazi doesn't want her going to Moscow out of fear of discovery by the Soviets. Rita violates her orders from the Stazi and reveals her identify to her lover. His astonishment and rejection make their separation easier.

Things change for Rita with the fall of the Berlin Wall and approaching German reunification. She finds herself, alone among her workplace associates, regretting the demise of a country that, however imperfectly, tried to make human relationships more important than economic success. Once again, she is a fugitive terrorist. Preferring tragedy to capture or a life in hiding, she steals a policeman's motorcycle, drives it through a border post, and is shot and killed by a guard.

The reason for East Germany's granting of asylum to West German terrorists is not entirely clear, either in the film or in real life. The closest the film comes to an explanation occurs when the members of the Red Army cell meet with their Stazi minder for a bratwurst barbecue at a pleasant rural villa. East Germany has signed the Helsinki Convention against harboring terrorists and has no interest in supporting what Lenin called "infantile Leftism." Cell members are given a choice of transportation to a third world country or remaining in East Germany. Individuals make different choices and kiss one another good bye. A Stazi executive at the barbecue suggests that a longing for lost revolutionary romanticism underlies the East Germany policy.

Another aspect of the film is its portrayal of everyday life in East Germany. It does this more completely than either Good Bye Lenin (2003) or The Lives of Others (2006) although these are, in many respects, excellent movies. To Western eyes, the results are surprising. Not everything is East Germany is drab and gray. The Stazi is ubiquitous but not omnipotent. Rita wears a sexy bikini when supervising children at a Baltic beach and no one thinks anything of it. People have a variety of opinions about many different subjects. According to Schlöndorff's commentary, West German viewers found the portrayal of East German life insufficiently harsh but former Easterners thought it exceptionally accurate.

I seldom give movies 10 ratings but, for The Legend of Rita, I can find nothing that should have been done differently. Both Schlöndorff and Wolfgang Kohlhaase are superb scriptwriters. Bibiana Beglau plays Rita and Martin Wuttke is Erwin Hull, Rita's sympathetic Stazi minder. All of the actors are excellent. The cinematography and editing are consistently tight and competent. From what I can see, the film has no weak links. I had not previously heard of it and got its DVD, almost by accident, from a public library. Wonderful discoveries are possible.
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truth and consequences of terrorism - mild spoilers
richard_longman23 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Rita's story is one of the most moving films I have seen in a great long while. It reveals some of the true story of terrorism through the life of one West Germany's notorious RAF terrorists.

The world is at war with itself. We live in a loveless plutocracy of materialism. Once you have understood the spiritual bankruptcy of the paradigm you cease to exist in Western society as a citizen and are horrified everyday by the venality and corruption and callousness on each side.

A select few decide to do something about it. Rita is one of a group of ten in West Germany. They do what they can as long as they can with GDR (East German) support. Rita finally loses the vocation and wishes for a normal life - as a working class person - in GDR. They give it to her.

She is happy, but cannot escape her past. She loves twice as a civilian and loses everything on both occasions as a consequence of her former identity.

The collapse of the wall ends any possibility of a conventional life for her. Unlike her fellow GDR citizens, Rita knew the consequences of reunification and the destruction it would wreak on East German communities and lives. Her speech to her jubilant co-workers a passionate and prophetic plea. But when Rita sees another former comrade arrested she must make a run for it.

The final shot is tragic and beautiful of the collapse of a motorcyle on a rainstrewn country road.

The image of Rita and her struggle for a better world will stay with me for a long, long time. Thank you to Wolfgang Kohlhaase and Volker Schlöndorff for telling honestly a story rarely told. With the events of September 2001, it may be a decade before anyone can make such a film on this subject.

The images are beautiful, if relatively conventional. Much of the art house crowd to whom this movie plays in North America require more avant-garde techniques to satisfy their insatiable cravings for the recondite, difficult and impenetrable. Frankly the story is better told well in the conventional language of good cinematography. The fine closeups are particularly notable.

Good performances all around, especially by Bibianne Beglau in the title role. Nadja Uhl is a revelation as Tatjana, a beautiful self-destructive alcoholic of uncertain sexuality but strong friendship. Jenny Schilly is excellent in the small role of Friederike, Rita's comrade in arms. Harald Schrott has a fantastic intensity as the lead revolutionary Andi. One of the key personalities in the film is their Stasi handler Erwinn. Sadly, most of the time Martin Wuttke's performance is too ironic by half. His Stasi sidekick is much better played by an actor whose name escapes me.
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Silence follows the shot
swillsqueal15 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Red Army Faction (RAF) was a self-described, communist, anti- imperialist urban guerrilla organisation based in the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). The RAF had a theoretically superficial Marxist-Leninist set of politics similar to those of Weatherman in the USA and the Red Army Faction in Japan. These were young people, many of them college students, who felt both a guilt about and sympathy for Third World nationalist revolutions; revolutions they believed, were the vanguard of a world revolution which would eventually sweep the 'fascist imperialist' States away.

Che Guevara captured what Schlöndorff is attempting to portray in his film concerning the mental spirit of these German student, revolutionary romantics when he reflected on his own audacity and political commitment:

"At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality... We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force."

Action and audacity were the Red Army Faction's (RAF) strong suit. "The Legend of Rita" (original German title "Die Stille nach dem Schuß" ) is set in the divided Germany of the 70s. Rita is a young fearless romantic in love with a left-wing revolutionary, one Andreas 'Andi' Klein, a guy who is more or less the leader of an RAF group which she is a part of. Their RAF group is armed, ruthless and robs banks to fund 'the revolution'. These revolutionaries naively explain their robberies in terms of 'anti- imperialist' politics : Yes, out loud, to customers as they clean out the capitalist bank vault and cash drawers, with weapons drawn.

Adrenal rush and surprise hit one in this film from start to finish. From jail breaks to motorcycle chases, to life behind the Iron Curtain, the film comes at you again and again with images you've been brainwashed to feel uncomfortable with. (Caution viewers: you may feel a violation of your Hollywoodised sensibilities.) You'll also feel the kind of careless courage these young people of the RAF had, as they consciously faced death, even as they reached out for a better life-- actually,a better life for others, mostly. As many, many of the New Left, Rita and her fellow RAF members are motivated to take violent political action in order to assuage a deeply felt guilt about being born in First World privilege. They are more moralists than materialists--romantic poets ready to use murder as a political weapon. In the midst of all this direct, violent action, some of them change, become more hard hearted, mechanically calculating. Rita's boyfriend is one of them and when this happens, love dies. Rita is a lover first and a revolutionary second. In her heart of hearts, she wants to settle down, have kids, a husband, the whole modern suburban dream, albeit in a more egalitarian, 'anti- imperialist' society. Rita wants mutual love more than anything else and as she learns more about the duplicitous mendacity of the coldly calculating political apparatus in both the East and West, she comes to the realisation that political States are always ready to opportunistically sacrifice their oft repeated, propagandised moral goals and callously toss human lives on the scrapheap for political gain. As a result, she grows closer to the only person who ever measured up to her romantic expectations, an East German woman named, Tatjana.

Volker Schlöndorff has directed a master portrait of a political situation, a time and a place which is quickly disappearing down the 'memory hole'. Not only are the West German RAF, with their Ton Stein Scherben albums and sneering hatred for bourgeois complacency critically and sympathetically examined; but the 'actually existing socialism' of the DDR of that era is laid bare as well. East Germany is portrayed realistically, down to the last idiosyncrasy, from the near empty roads, to the Radeberger Pilsner, to the workers' apartments in those large, multi- storied college dorm-like buildings in urban East Berlin. This portrait will disturb long held mainstream 'Time' magazine inspired conceptions of East Germany, some would say, 'with extreme prejudice'. Rest assured, the film's honesty extends across both sides of the East/West border. Far from revolutionary or socialist, most of the citizens of the DDR are portrayed as being quite conservative, endorsing whichever police are in charge of the political State. The point is hammered home at the end of the movie, when the fall of the Wall in 1989 is portrayed; a time when Rita and her audience are supposed to come to the realisation of just what die Stille nach dem Schuß entails.
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The protagonist IS the DDR!! (possible spoilers)
wwwhpcom15 April 2001
Warning: Spoilers
What the director has done with this picture is make the history of the DDR (Deutche Demokratishe Republik - The German Democratic Republic)with the protagonist a stand-in for the state. Certainly she is the little orphan Annie of Marxism-Leninism, and we see the DDR though her eyes (which may explain why the sets are so clean.) In a possible defence of her radicalism, may I say that the Bundesrepublik Deutchland(West Germany)was very much a conservative, yet apolitical state for the first 20 years of it's existence. The WW II generation was silent, the (initally) radical labor unions of 1946 were tamped down with help from the CIA and the AFL-CIO. German youth was ambivalent towards America and the West because of the occupation troops and the cheasy bar culture they brought with them. You can't live in the `50's forever, and when the 1960's wafted in, people like Rita were silently raging for change. Unfortunately for her, Mao's dictum of "political power grows from the barrel of a gun" was more appealing than other forms of protest or makig a counterculture. The rest is the plot.

The Stasi paper-shredding scene near the end actually happened; the BDR is still sorting the fragments. And yes, Trabants were that cheap.
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Fascinating subject, but emotionally flat
SammyK8 September 2000
Maybe it's the cultural specificity of the piece, but somehow Volker Schlondorff's "The Legends of Rita" fails to hit the right emotional chords, where essentially the film's humanism-over-politics thematics want to evoke in the audience. Don't get me wrong, "Rita" is an excellently crafted film, subtle and never forceful. The film succeeds above and beyond expectations in its depiction of the latter years of the GDR, portraying an ideologically bankrupt nation whose environments and inhabitants seem to be caught in a state of limbo. Perhaps Schlondorff's acquiring of the former DEFA (and UFA before it) Babelsburg studios is the main reason for the authenticity of his vision of the former East. As well, this is a departure from the realm of fantasy that Schlondorff had probed history within in such works as "The Ogre" and "The Tin Drum." Instead, as with Bertolucci's "Besieged," the director has returned to his roots in filmmaking and provided a once-again fresh, verité aesthetic. This could very well be a companion piece to "The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum," although, as I mentioned earlier, the emotions fall flat here, failing to deliver an ultimate, devastating "punch."
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The "Badlands" of the Baader-Meinhoff gang...
honeybearrecords11 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, so I was really primed to love "The Legend of Rita". And, yes, no surprise, I love this movie. Here's why: First of all, it's an objective film about the European left in all its shapes and sizes. Rita is a member of a radical group of German urban guerrillas somewhat based on the Baader-Meinhoff gang and somewhat based on the Hash Rebels. She kills a police officer, but unlike Western mainstream cinema, we still sympathize with her and identify with her struggle. She is aided by the East German Stasi, who see as normal people doing a job they believe in, rather than as the Stalinistic secret police we're told to believe they were. We see East Berlin as a difficult place to live. But not as the colorless, endless ghetto with bread lines that books and films have also told us. It's an objective film.

Second of all, it's a film where the main character is a woman driven by her ideological convictions AS WELL AS her loves and desires. If Hollywood made the film, unrequited love or some sort of sexual frustration would drive her. Her political convictions and dedication to leftist revolution are what give her strong character and is not her Achilles heel.

The film follows Rita as a young member of a radical group in '70s Berlin. While traveling back from Lebanon, a series of events leads her to make friends with the Stasi who aid her and her companions throughout their misadventures. After killing a cop during a police chase, she creates a new identity and lives a normal life in the East.

From there the film follows her life and the end of the Cold War (World War III). I know most of the world was celebrating Glasnost. But to me, it felt like such a huge failure. Now, I may be an anarchist and I may have the same problems many of you had with the Soviet Union. But the fall of communism still felt like defeat. And for revolutionaries around the world, including people like Rita many of whom were turned over to the invading right wing bureaucrats, it was a palpable defeat.
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Good political film that could do with a better English title
jpfurner6 May 2007
'the legend of rita' is an unfortunately choice of title when compared to the German 'die stille nach dem schuss'. The film is about how members of small armed revolutionary groups come to terms with what remains of their lives ('die stille') between/after periods of action ('dem Schuss'), not principally about one person, let alone their 'legend', even if there is only one character who is continually present.

Since the group in question hides out for a period in the ddr, a number of occasions arise in which the politics of armed guerillas and that of the ddr are compared, and both appear a long way off the kind of broad participatory socialism they are often mistakenly taken to aspire to. The exchanges between the main stasi officer and rita about the role of violence and the state are particularly priceless.
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A Volker Schlöndorff film which is more an entertainer than a political film.
FilmCriticLalitRao19 June 2015
The Legend of Rita is about the lives of some young terrorists from West Germany who dreamed of making radical changes in the lives of people using violent means. It describes the tumultuous lives of these people especially their stay in East Germany by focusing on a particular person who is the film's protagonist. Although the film's pace is fast, it fails to do much justice to the topic it intended to portray. As events in the life of a terrorist are shown in a rapid succession without bothering to concentrate on one particular aspect, 'The Legend of Rita' takes the form of an entertainer as it distances itself too much from the radical stance viewed in hardcore political films. It appears that the director Volker Schlöndorff has sweetened his film to such a large extent that even East German secret service agents appear as if they were some kind of nice gentlemen with nothing but loads of goodness in their hearts. As a festival film, 'The legend of Rita' won some important prizes namely silver bear and best actress price shared by Bibiana Beglau and Nadja Uhl during Berlinale 2000. Finally, it is a nice film which can be watched with family and friends.
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historical details well considered
gbrandt26 November 2000
this film is about a fact discovered after the changes of 1989, namely that the remaining unfound RAF terrorists have been hidden in the DDR.

Schlöndorff has considered many details very well. although he never tells the "true" story i could tell most of the time which historic fact he had in mind, and i remembered many things i myself had read in the newspapers at the time these events had been in the news. the only thing i am not sure about is wether the west actually did know all the time. sounds a bit like conspiracy. maybe "we" did and wanted to avoid "trouble", as so often. the ending is very stupid and easy, like often in Schlöndorff-films, i regret to say. so i was a bit angry when i walked out the cinema. but still i think every German interested in his country's history (and i believe it is the duty of Germans to interested in it!) should watch this movie in order to also consider this last "east"-chapter of RAF terrorism. the last "west"-chapter was the dissolution of the AIZ and Bad Hersfeld. my recommended reading is: Der Baader-Meinhof-Komplex by Stefan Aust.
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Potential for so much more
Horst_In_Translation18 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Die Stille nach dem Schuß" or "The Legend of Rita" is a German movie from 2000, so this one will soon have its 20th anniversary. It is among the more recent works by "Oscar-winning" German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff, who directed this one and also wrote the script together with somewhat legendary screenplay writer Wolfgang Kohlhaase. The film runs for 100 minutes roughly and tells an entirely fictitious story about former West German terrorist and how she lives under an alias in the GDR. The upcoming reunification may have made things easier for most, but not for her. I personally really wanted to like this movie here, but it was very difficult to end up appreciating. The problem is not that it is a bleak one, but that lead actress Bibiana Beglau was extremely underwhelming in her most known character performance. I would almost call her miscast. She was not only way too young for the role, but also she added almost nothing in terms of face expressions and range to a character that offered so so much and could have turned out so memorable if it had been portrayed by a superior actress. No idea why the Berlin Film Festival and also the European Film Awards gave her some recognition. The still pretty young Nadja Uhl was better for sure, but also not nomination or even awards worthy. The best performance probably still came from Martin Wuttke here who gave a commanding performance in the few couple scenes he was on. The script is not a revelation either, but making a fiction film about the days of RAF Germany (or the years after) is something we don't see too often and Schlöndorff's and Kohlhaase's experience certainly shows in terms of subtle moments, but also the showy ending for example. I just really wish they could have cast another lead actress here as Beglau does not have what it needs to carry this film from start to finish as she is in basically every single scene. A negative deal-breaker for me. Not recommended.
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A credible film about terrorism and the Bolshevist state
eabakkum3 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The film "Die Stille nach dem Schuss" has the problem, that the audience can neither identify with the characters nor with the society. Some of the characters are German city guerrillas and thus loose cannons, not much different from violent criminals. The other characters are Stasi officers, the Bolshevist equivalent of the CIA. And the society is the Bolshevist dictatorship GDR, which was never a very pleasant place to live in. Still my knowledge about the setting is above-average. I have read the book Der Baader Meinhof Komplex by Stefan Aust (670p.), which is a leading work on the subject. I even read "Ulrike Meinhof und die deutschen Verhaeltnisse" by Peter Bruecker, which contains many fragments of the writings of Meinhof. It did not make me any wiser with regard to the ideas, that motivated this (European!) movement. Terrorism is not exceptional, but always sectarian and therefore escapes the common sense. Somehow some groups in our society experience state oppression to such an extent, that in their view the situation escalates into a hidden war. It is the paradox, that ordinary people like police officers become their primary target. Even in Utrecht, my residence, a constable was killed by a RAF member, in a situation similar to the French officer from the film. In addition I have read enough about the GDR to appreciate the living conditions. In spite of the revolutionary facade the GDR society was actually more rigid than for instance the USA. In fact this region had always been the most conservative part of Germany, so that the contempt for former terrorists in the film is probably authentic. The party elite consisted of oppressive bureaucrats but cherished its own terrorist past and was probably indeed sympathetic (and suspicious) towards western terrorists. So in general the atmosphere of the film looks credible. It is a pity that the narrative does not elaborate on Ritas scruples, or perhaps the absence of them, with respect to her past deeds. It may be that she represses these thoughts, but we don't know. All in all she seems to enjoy herself. I don't know whether former RAF members had happy lives in the GDR. If so, one of course wonders why they didn't migrate in the first place. Although the story was not a revelation to me, it didn't bore me either. The scenes of GDR life, the collective company holidays, the community singing, the droll corporate life, and the stage properties (Trabant, Wartburg cars, 60s furniture) are sufficiently realistic to allow for recognition. Unfortunately, the endings of the Schlondorff films that I have seen (Die verlorene Ehre der K. Blum, Strajk!) are never a true climax, and this weakness also holds for this one. The killing of Rita on a motor bike is banal, and an ending without ambition, except perhaps a faint attempt to restore justice. In conclusion, the film has its merits in that it is credible and captivating. However, I would not call it an intellectual masterpiece. I guess that Schlondorff shared my inability to sympathize with his characters, and therefore could not connect with their thoughts. If you are interested in GDR life or social films, consider seeing my other reviews.
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Back in the DDR
bob9981 November 2007
This is not the strongest film by Schlondorff, but it is very entertaining nonetheless. Rita is a woman of a thousand disguises: some adopted for her terrorist roles in the West, some given to her by her Stasi handler in the East, and some adopted to cope with the jarring dissonances that people experienced under Communism.

The time is never right for Rita. She is told that since the DDR is about to sign a pact against terrorism, she and her comrades are excess baggage. When her boyfriend announces he's going to the USSR to work, she has to tell him she can't go with him, as she'd be unsafe there. Plane tickets to Beirut are offered to them: Rita refuses but Andreas and the others go (anything to get away from the socialist nightmare). Rita's refusal saves her life, of course.

I found the moral questions that a politically engaged citizen of either of the former two Germanies had to face were brought out better in The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, but Rita has many lovely moments.
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The Internationale
valis19498 July 2011
THE LEGEND OF RITA by director Volker Schlöndorff offers an intriguing look at East Germany's role in the international revolutionary political movements of the 1970's. The film has an authentic feel in that it is not chock-full of clichéd characters that seem to populate these types of films. Rita is a member of a radical underground group that evolved from the American Civil Rights/Black Power/Anti-Vietnam movements of the 1960's. Although initially begun on the college campus of Berkeley California, within a decade these political and cultural movements morphed into lawless gangs which spread worldwide by the early 1970's. Their belief was that the system of Capitalism was systemically flawed, and therefore the criminal and judicial system was null and void. Schlondorff highlights the idealistic tendencies of the group members, and even seems to romanticize the organizations which supported them. Rita and her cohorts are nearly idealistic to a fault, and harbor an unusual or misplaced admiration for The Peoples' State. It's almost a running gag in the film that no one who lives in East Germany can believe that anyone would chose to live there. Although for a variety of reasons Socialism clearly was usurped by Capitalism by the early 90's, Volker Schlondorff has crafted a film that is a kind of a thoughtful advocacy for the positive aspects of a more collective political system. THE LEGEND OF RITA is a terrific film of the Thriller Genre, yet perceptively makes political points without becoming a polemic.
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Most welcome different approach to leftist guerrilla in Western Europe
robertopoletti8 April 2020
In the 70s in western Europe, especially in Italy and Germany, a part of the left movement thought that the time of a violent system change had come, and they engaged themselves in 'armed struggle' to that effect. But they were wrong and were defeated. As it always happens, the history is (re)written by the winners, and so members of armed organizations such as Brigate Rosse and RAF came to be depicted as bloodthirsty psychopaths in mainstrean, State-controlled historiography. This film has the merit of doing justice to these modern Don Quixotes.
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=G=11 October 2001
"The Legend of Rita" follows the activities of a young female idealist who runs with a small band of second rate terrorists in West Germany just prior to the end of the Cold War, goes straight, and hides under assumed identities (the legend). A well crafted, technically good Euroflick, "...Rita", equally split between character and story, puts the audience in the awkward position of having to root for a terrorist with only a marginally interesting story to tell. Slightly above par, "...Rita" will appeal most to cinema buffs and those into Euroflicks.
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Notes for a film but not the film itself
psteele28 May 2001
Schlondorff has no strong sense of what to make of his terrorist characters. Rita is idealistic but her personal life is pulled in rather conventional bourgeois directions. The film points to the paradox of idealistic murder and suggests that society has no ability to appreciate the complexity of such a character, but why should it when even a work of art like this film is unable to explore what's inside its title character. A muddled film about a muddled time.
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the small wheels of history
dromasca22 February 2020
The second half of last year meant for many, especially for those of us who lived in the half of Europe which fell under the control of the communist dictatorships imposed by the former Soviet Union, the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain and of the Berlin Wall. The events were celebrated and remembered with documentary films and speeches by politicians, but on this occasion we could see how few people remember how the world was before 1989, with the divided Europe, the ideological polarization, the Cold War, and most of all the dull and hopeless life in the countries of the communist bloc. Some, the young people or those who lived in the West, did not know it. Others seem to want to forget. Reviewing movies like 'The Legend of Rita' (German title is 'Die Stille nach dem Schuß') can make a contribution against forgetting. The film made in 2000 by the German director Volker Schlöndorff returns 25 years after his great success 'The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum' to the theme of terrorism in Germany in the 70s, presenting it from the perspective of those who at one time or another were small wheels in the mechanisms of history, and which must live the rest of their lives the consequences of their acts of youth and of their adherence to a murderous ideology.

Hanna Arendt was writing about the 'banality of evil'. It can be said that Schlöndorff expands her idea in this film and that he performs a kind of 'humanization of evil'. The two main characters in the 'The Legend of Rita' are Rita Vogt, a young woman from western Germany, involved in robberies and armed attacks, some of them resulting in the death of innocents and Erwin Hull, a communist bureaucrat serving Stasi security services in eastern Germany. Both are executors in a totalitarian terrorist mechanism. She is an anarchist terrorist, he is an agent of state terrorism. On the one hand both serve anti-capitalist ideologies through violent means without manifesting too many moral scruples, on the other hand they both aspire to a normality of their lives in complete contradiction with the goals of the organizations and of he system they serve. Does Schlöndorff absolve them from guilt? I do not think so, because it is very clear in the film that everything that happens around contradicts the supposed humanistic ideals of the system. It can be said that the two characters are the only ones in the film who still believe in ideology, who do not understand or accept the changes that are happening around them. The refusal to assume any personal responsibility for the actions committed in the name of the 'cause' is also the root of their personal failures.

Between a prologue that presents Rita's terrorist activities in the mid-1970s and the epilogue that happens immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, most of the film describes the main heroine's attempt to build a new life, under cover, in a anti-Western activist protection program sponsored by Stasi. Against the course of history, she travels the opposite way to the one made by hundreds of thousands of East Germans who during the Cold War took refuge in the west. 'The Legend of Rita' belongs to the category of German films that reconstitute life in the so-called German Democratic Republic, being a more sober variant of the excellent 'Good Bye Lenin!' The two actors who play the lead roles (Bibiana Beglau and Martin Wuttke) as well as the whole team around them seemed excellent. The directorial performance is remarkable both in terms of the ambience details, and especially of the characters psychologies. Rita's attempts to restore her life manage to create, perhaps unmerited emotion and empathy towards the character. Neither personal happiness nor peace of mind are possible for those who compromise by collaborating with a crooked system. Schlöndorff does not avoid controversy, his intention seems more to open the discussion, but the main idea to me seemed clear.
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Die Stille nach dem Schuss (2000 - Volker Schlöndorff): **¾
tmdaines21 March 2016
Drawing parallels with real members of the RAF far-left militant group and events of the 70s and 80s in Germany, Die Stille nach dem Schuss depicts the relationship between the terrorist organisation and the East German Stasi through the eyes of an individual. Rita Vogt seeks refuge in the GDR after becoming the target of a manhunt following a prison break gone wrong. Rita is shown to be unique in her unconditional love for the supposed values of her adopted homeland, standing in stark contrast to her fellow citizens, all of whom refuse to have the wool pulled over their eyes. The film lacks both the style and thrills of Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008) or any real sustained drama. Much of the time you find yourself lacking empathy for the characters and unmoved by the lack of much suspense or action. Arguably this indifference and coldness from the audience to the East is intended at times, but at others there is something lacking. Just when it seems the stakes are to be raised in Rita's personal life, the narrative moves on too soon.
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bubblegumyums6514 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
(Spoiler?)I really liked this movie. I thought that the filming and photography was wonderful. I really like the plot also.

The people were not that great looking, but they acted well. I'm not too sure on that whole lesbian thing that went on. That kind of freaked me out. What I didn't like about this movie was the ending. All I could think was WHY?! WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN?! Anyways, it was an overall good movie. I recommend this movie to anyone who likes to go through a crazy adventure.
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