November 03, 1980 12:00 PM

The new German cinema may be the most exciting in the world today, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder is its most prolific and interesting director. In this, his 35th feature in 15 years, he takes on the young terrorists who now plague Europe—and makes mincemeat of them. The movie opens with a plot to kidnap a wealthy industrialist in Berlin. The gang planning the abduction is composed of malcontent, perhaps slightly psychotic men and women who think terrorism is a game. That, says Fassbinder, is precisely what makes them so dangerous. Gradually they realize there is an informer in their midst, but not until some of them have been killed and maimed. The director’s usual stock company returns, headed by Hanna Schygulla, who was so wonderful in Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun. She is the industrialist’s scheming secretary. As always, the beauty of a Fassbinder film is in the telling—the camera work is stunning, the color and the music superbly complement the story line and the director’s chilling sense of irony is apparent. (Not rated) (In German with English subtitles)

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