The Raspberry Reich
This article reads like a review rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (December 2007)
|The Raspberry Reich|
U.S. release DVD cover art
|Directed by||Bruce LaBruce|
|Produced by||Jürgen Brüning|
|Written by||Bruce La Bruce|
|Edited by||Jörn Hartmann|
|Distributed by||Peccadillo Pictures (UK)|
The Raspberry Reich is a 2004 film by director Bruce LaBruce which explores what LaBruce calls "terrorist chic", cult dynamics, and the "innate radical potential of homosexual expression". It is about a contemporary terrorist group who set out to continue the work of the Red Army Faction (RAF), also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang. The group consists of several young men, and a female leader named Gudrun (after Gudrun Ensslin). All of the characters are named after original members of the Baader-Meinhof Gang or revolutionaries such as Che Guevara.
They call themselves the "Sixth Generation of the Baader-Meinhof Gang" and "The Raspberry Reich". "Reich" is a reference to communist sexologist Wilhelm Reich. In addition, the term "Raspberry Reich" was coined by RAF leader Gudrun Ensslin to refer to the oppression of consumer society. An "uncut" version of the film has been released, titled The Revolution Is My Boyfriend, edited by the gay pornographic film company Cazzo Film including erotic scenes edited out in the original version.
The core plot begins with the kidnapping of Patrick, the son of a wealthy industrialist. Sexual and romantic engtanglements push the drama forward. At the film's climax, Gudrun delivers a soliloquy on the importance of personal life in revolution. She puts particular emphasis on the breaking of heterosexual and possessive sexual norms, urging her comrades to join "The Homosexual Intifada".
The pressure of Gudrun's controlling personality causes the group to break up. Most of the urban guerrillas escape into the night. In the dénouement, the characters are visited some time later. Several have found happiness in the homosexual relationships established during their revolutionary activities. Che has become a terrorist trainer in the Middle East. Patrick escapes with Clyde, where they embark on a spree of bank robberies. This action is reminiscent of Patty Hearst's actions with the SLA. Gudrun and Holger settle down and have a child named Ulrike (after Ulrike Meinhof), whom Gudrun believes could embody the next generation of the Red Army Faction.
The film's style is propagandistic. The actors are placed in rooms wallpapered with photographs of Gudrun Ensslin, Ulrike Meinhof, Andreas Baader, and Che Guevara. This symbolises the historical connection to the RAF. At several points during the film, the action pauses while the characters recite long passages from Vaneigem's The Revolution of Everyday Life, as though they are speaking from their own thoughts. Onscreen titles are also used to convey and enhance political messages.
Pornography plays a large visual role in the film. The opening sequence features a montage of sexual acts involving the two main characters, Gudrun and Andreas. There are also plot driven sex scenes involving the characters of Patrick and Clyde engaging in real explicit onscreen oral and anal sex acts with each other. Much of these scenes intentions are to not only arouse but also present themes of satire and of character development.
- "The Revolution is my boyfriend!"
- "Fuck me up against the wall, motherfucker!"
- "Fuck me for the Revolution!"
- "Are you revolutionary enough to give up your girlfriends?"
- "Join the homosexual intifada!"
- "No revolution without sexual revolution. No sexual revolution without homosexual revolution."
- "Out of the bedrooms into the streets!"
- "Heterosexuality is the opiate of the masses"
- Declaring things to be counter-revolutionary: "Corporate hip hop is counter-revolutionary!"; "Madonna is counter-revolutionary!"; "Cornflakes are counter-revolutionary!"; "Masturbation is counter-revolutionary!".
Humour and satire are employed to explore the gap between reality and ideals in the terrorist world. For example, some of the kidnappers—avowed vegetarians for political reasons ("meat is counter-revolutionary")—purchase burgers at a multinational corporate fast food chain drive through with their victim still in the trunk.
- W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, another political film which explores and relies heavily upon sexual imagery.
- The Raspberry Reich - Box Office Mojo Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- "Synopsis of Raspberry Reich". Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
- Aust, Stefan. Baader-Meinhof group the inside story of a phenomenon. London: Bodley Head, 1987. p. 59
- "The Revolution Is My Boyfriend". Les Inrockuptibles. Paris, France: Les Editions Indépendantes (661–663): 100. 2008-07-29. ISSN 0298-3788.
- Question originally asked at a Weather Underground conference counterposing sexuality and revolution, in the context of Raspberry Reich it counterposes hetero and homosexuality.