© X-Verleih/Warner Bros. 

Joschka und Herr Fischer
Germany/Switzerland 2011

Opening 19 May 2011

Directed by: Pepe Danquart
Writing credits: Pepe Danquart
Principal actors: Joschka Fischer, Hans Hoschink, Katharina Thalbach, Peter Grohmann, Jonny Klinke

This retrospective looks back on six decades of post-WW2 Germany as remembered by 60-year-old Joschka Fischer, the most “colorful character” to hold public office in Germany ever. It is also his political biography.

Director Pepe Danquart prompts Fischer’s memory by literally placing him in the middle of history: a video installation of archival film clips projected as loops onto clear glass panels hanging from the ceiling of a loft building (a terrific artistic presentation). We watch him being confronted with his own history and spontaneously commenting on the events. Humble beginnings and not your typical political career: Joschka, son of poor Hungarian emigrants growing up in conservative, rural, post-war Germany – high-school-drop-out – labor organizer – member of militant leftist group – student protest movement; member of The Green Party; member and enfant terrible of the Bundestag (national parliament) famous for his provocative speeches; 1985 appearing in jeans and sneakers at his inauguration to Minister of the Environment, …. all the way to holding the post of Vice-Chancellor and Secretary of State from 1998-2005: “Joschka” morphing into “Herr Fischer” in suit and tie, now part of the establishment. Dispersed throughout the film are Exkurse, additional chapters in which ten friends recall and comment on the times: student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit, for example, or actress Katharina Thalbach, who contributes a bit of East German history.

It might have been a valid aesthetical decision, but I missed titles with date and place for the archival material, and more information on some of the lesser-known people chosen for the Exkurse. All in all: a lively and informative documentary, starring one of the most popular politicians in Germany’s post-war history. Not your typical history book perspective. (Carola A)

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