Legend Of Rita, The
From Volker Schlondorff, the acclaimed director of The Tin Drum, The Lost Honor Of Katharina Blum, and Circle Of Deceit, comes The Legend Of Rita, a striking political thriller set in the later years of the Cold War. Anchored by a stunning lead performance by newcomer Bibiana Beglau, in the title role, the film recounts the struggles of a young West German woman as she flees from the consequence of her radical past.
Rita starts her journey as a member of a bank-robbing, terrorist group, loosely based on the real Baader-Meinhof gang, who sparred with the West German police throughout the seventies. After a series of complications, these anti-capitalist revolutionaries are f-rced to disband, but Rita decides to take refuge in East Germany under a false identity - the "legend" of the titles. As "Susanne Schmidt," a worker at a fabric dyeing plant, this former socialist activist begins to encounter some of the drab and discontented reality of a Communist state. With remarkable dexterity, The Legend Of Rita deftly captures the conflicts at the heart of a socialist system, even as Rita become personally involved with an alcoholic factory worker (Nadja Uhl) and then a young physics student (Alexander Beyer). As the years pass Rita is f-rced into other identities, the film becomes a vivid portrait of her growing sense of alienation, although her devotion to the distant ideal of socialism never changes.
For Mr. Schlondorff, The Legend Of Rita is a triumph, a "return to the politically urgent, ethically complex and clear-sighted filmmaking that marks his strongest work." (A.O. Scott, - The New York Times). With intense, sure-handed direction, Schlondorff explores the emotional dilemmas posed by commitment to a cause. An engrossing document of one woman's experience up to and including the fall of the Berlin Wall, The Legend Of Rita is a powerful drama of recent history that is not easily forgotten.