Rome IFF: Long Shadows in the Eternal City

Article published on Oct. 27, 2008
Article published on Oct. 27, 2008
Two domestic terrorist dramas from Germany are part of the line-up at the Rome International Film Festival: the big-budget action drama The Baader Meinhof Complex and the intimate Long Shadows. Both look at the Red Army Faction (RAF), though the latter is more concerned with the consequences of the RAF.

Long Shadows was directed by Connie Walther and starts with the release of the former RAF member Widmer (Ulrich Noethen) after 22 years behind bars. The magnificent opening shot shows how the media are misled by a car so that a lawyer (Tatja Seibt) can pick up Widmer, who simply walks out of the main entrance.

The second protagonist of the film is Valerie (Franziska Petri), who lives next door to Widmer in the anonymous high rise that his lawyer puts him up in. The two have a shared history together, though Widmer is initially unaware of this fact, as is his lawyer.

Long Shadows is concerned with the aftermath, even after more than two decades, of the German autumn, when the second generation of the RAF went through a period of extreme violence.

Uli Herrmann’s screenplay was co-written with Peter-Jürgen Boock, an actual RAF member whose story closely resembles Widmer’s. Boock is portrayed by actor Vinzenz Kiefer in The Baader Meinhof Complex [trailer].

Walther stated that her two protagonists “have to go on with their common history, get involved with each other to step away from history’s shadows. In reality, this may be an unbearable confrontation, but in fiction it constitutes a possibility”.

The film was produced by NextFilm and Gambit Film, in co-production with ARTE and BR. Additional funding came from MFG Baden-Württemberg, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the German Ministry of Culture and the new DFFF fund. International sales are handled by Stuttgart-based Sola Media.

Boyd van Hoeij