So much for “A Woman In Berlin,” a German film we saw at the Toronto Film Fest that we thought might have a shot at Foreign Oscar gold. Nope! Germany has selected it’s official Oscar entry and don’t look for some trenchant drama like “The Lives Of Others” (which won the Best Foreign Oscar for Deutschland in 2007), they’ve chosen, “Der Baader Meinhof Komplex,” a shoot-’em up flick that’s a potential blockbuster (at least for Germany).
The interesting thing about this choice, aside from it star-studded, big-budgeted thriller with hails of bullets, car chases and explosions, is that controversy dogged the film early on. Back in mid August, producers of the film – trying to keep a key secret in the film under wraps – forced journalists to sign a contract restricting them from writing about the film before its September 25 German release and threatening them with a fine of 100, 000 Euros if they were to disobey that stricture. Talk about harsh and talk about a way to engender ill will from the press (That’s $143,000 U.S. dollars, don’t know about you, but we’re not even sure Elvis Mitchell could afford that fine).
Many assumed this was the same tactic U.S. producers use when they forgo press screenings because their product is so bad they assume it’s going to get roasted. The thinking being: better to take their chances without press. Greencine got adamant about it.
“Obviously, ‘Der Baader Meinhof Komplex’ is a botched film. There’s no other explanation for [the producer’s] loss of control and hysterical behavior. There’s a fear that word of the poor quality of the film will get out.”
But can it be that bad if Germany has selected it to be its Oscar pick of the year? The film stars a who’s who of A-list German stars including Martina Gedeck (“The Good Shepard,” “The Lives Of Others”), Moritz Bleibtreu (“Run Lola Run”), the great Bruno Ganz (“Downfall,” “Wings Of Desire”) and the gorgeous Alexandra Maria Lara (“Youth Without Youth,” “Control”). Judge for yourself, with the trailer below. We’re not convinced that this is Tarantino-lite though. BTW, there’s no U.S. release date on this one and we may have to wait until early 2009 to see it.