A photo is the starting point of this film, a photo which depicts three men in a Berlin court: Otto Schily, Hans Christian Ströbele and Horst Mahler, in the early 1970s. At this time the three of them are lawyers for the APO, the left extraparliamentary opposition. In the photo Mahler is in the dock. Schily and Ströbele are his legal representatives.
They consider the state, the Federal Republic of Germany, a political enemy and vassal of the USA. The three want a different kind of republic. What they don't agree on is the means to get there. Mahler threw a Molotow-Cocktail and attempted to organise weapons for the Red Army Faction (RAF); the other two consider words to be their weapons. What connects these three men in the early 1970s is the struggle for their desired 'left justice'. Together they take the risk to publicly show solidarity with individuals who are considered to be enemies of the state and lead their spectacular political trials: They take on the media mogul Axel Springer, the police and the high courts.
Today one of them is a retired Minister of the Interior of the Social Democrats, another is the moral voice of the German Green Party and the third a central figure in the right-wing scene. They span the political spectrum of the Federal Republic: Ströbele is the undeviating leftist, Schily the middle-class conservative and Mahler the right wing extremist. Today, 38 year later it would be impossible to get these three to come together for a photo.
The film follows the biographies of these three men belonging to the same generation and politicised by the same circumstances. Director Birgit Schulz investigates what shaped these political subjects by combining archive film
material and interviews with the three. The film is also an investigation into the political era of the late 1960s - early 1990s in Germany and it draws out the relationship between the autonomous scene and the state.
Written and directed by Birgit Schulz, 92min, 2009. German with English subtitles.
Presented by Adriana Eysler