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THE RASPBERRY REICH
USA: Strand Releasing
Cast: Susanne Sachsse, Daniel Bätscher, Andreas Rupprecht, Dean Stathis, Anton Z Risan, Daniel Fettig, Gerrit, Joeffrey, Ulrike S, Sherry Vine, Stephan Dilschneider, Punktchen, Sven Reinhard, Angela Davis, Genesis P Orridge, Naushad, Huseyin Gunus, Alfredo Holz, Claus Matthes, Rafael Caba, Mischka Kral, Marco Volk, Darius Sautter Aschkanpour, Andreas Stadler, Ralf Grawe, Mario Mentrup, Christoph Glaubacker, David Arnold, Daniel Hendricksen, Marco Volk, Claus Matthes
Director: Bruce LaBruce
Language: English / German
USA: 90 mins
USA Release Date: 24 September 2004 (Limited Release)
THE RASPBERRY REICH is a film about "radical chic," specifically the phenomenon of the modern left in Germany adopting the signifiers and postures of extreme left-wing movements of the 1970s, particularly the Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader-Meinhoff Gang. The movie starts off with the abduction by a gang of bumbling, would-be terrorists of Patrick, a young man who is the son of one of the wealthiest bankers in Germany. A scene of chaos and slapstick humor ensues in which Clyde, one of the aspiring terrorists - or activists, as they prefer to refer to themselves - accidentally handcuffs himself to the kidnapping victim and is forced to join him in the trunk of their stolen BMW. Unbeknownst to the rest of the gang, Clyde, whose job it was to follow Patrick and report his whereabouts to his cohorts, has already had a sexual liaison with Patrick, and the two young men are already planning Patrick's escape as soon as the abduction takes place. The gang does not realize that Patrick's father disowned and disinherited him when Patrick came out as gay, and therefore he has no value as a hostage. Nothing seems to go right for this well meaning but ineffectual gang of aspiring terrorists.
In the meantime, the leader of the Raspberry Reich, Gudrun, a charismatic young woman who has patterned herself after Gudrun Ensslin, one of the main members of the Baader-Meinhoff Gang, is indoctrinated the other members of the gang to her cause. Gudrun, a strict devotee of Wihelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse, believes that heterosexual monogamy is a bourgeois construct that must be smashed in order to achieve true revolution. To that end, she forces her straight male followers to have sex with each other to prove their mettle as authentic revolutionaries. When Holger, one of her followers, protests that he is her boyfriend, Gudrun tells him not to be ridiculous, that the revolution is her boyfriend! Gudrun is constantly preaching her revolutionary rhetoric to the impressionable young men, but she often finds it difficult to live up to the extreme ideals by which she attempts to govern her life and the lives of her followers.
After having sex in a public elevator with Holger and visiting a shooting range with Andreas, the senior member of the gang, Gudrun starts to hatch her hostage scheme in order to extort money from Patrick's father which she plans to distribute to the oppressed, impoverished working class, and also to draw attention to their glamorous cause. Unfortunately for Gudrun, Clyde and Patrick have ambitions of their own. The eventually escape and become bank robbers, stealing money from one of the banks owned by Patrick's own father.
After the terrorists' plot is foiled, the film traces what becomes of each of the members. Helmut and Horst, who were previously straight, become gay lovers. They run into Andreas, who seems to be in the closet, in a gay bar on an evening that has a terrorist chic theme. Che, another member of the gang, who patterns himself after Che Guevara, moves to the Middle East where he begins to train real terrorists how to abduct real victims. Sometimes those who indulge in radical chic do become real - and dangerous - terrorists. And of course Gudrun and Holger get married and have a child and become members of the bourgeoisie, although Gudrun still pays lip service to her radical beliefs.