Film tip – nervous republic – a look behind the scenes of politics and media

Film tip - nervous republic - a look behind the scenes of politics and media

Director Stephan Lamby accompanied politicians and journalists for a year. He was at party conferences and demonstrations, at press meetings and crisis meetings. The result is a portrait of a society: unsettled, hectic, hysterical.

If a director wants to make brutal scenes look particularly dramatic, he can use a popular means: classic singing from the off. While the blood splatters on the screen, an opera singer is chirping in the background. A stark pair of scissors from image and sound – at least irritating, almost disturbing. Although there is no blood flowing in Stephan Lamby’s film "Nervous Republic", the effect also has an effect here: Lamby shows the angry mob of a Zwickau demonstration while magnificent singing is playing in the background. He has journalists and politicians read alot of hate comments. And shows them how they hurry from one appointment to the next – in the car, down the aisle, in the elevator.

Director Stephan Lamby accompanied top politicians for a year. These included Defense Minister Thomas de Maizère (CDU) and Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (SPD), CDU General Secretary Peter Tauber, SPD General Secretary Katarina Barley, Left Group Chairman Sahra Wagenknecht and AfD Head Frauke Petry. Lamby also visited the editorial offices of Bild.de and Spiegel Online.

Here is the trailer for the film:

Lamby’s film is subtitled "One year in Germany". And so the film is like a rapid review of 2016. Lamby jumps through the year at top speed: cake throwing at Sahra Wagenknecht, Brexit referendum, killing spree in Munich, Donald Trump’s election victory, AfD successes, terrorist attack in Berlin and finally, beginning 2017, Martin Schulz was nominated as SPD candidate for chancellor. In 90 minutes, Lamby imitates the crazy pace that sets the pace in everyday political life and newsrooms. Breaking news and headlines pass by, politicians take a stand, jump into the car and race to the next appointment. A "nervous republic" in action.

"You could have called it hysterical," said documentary filmmaker Lamby at the launch of his film in Berlin in late March. "But nervous, that’s the word ‘insecurity’." By that he means in particular the insecurity of politics and the media. Two sectors, which – confronted with the growth of Pegida and AfD – irritate their eyes and ask: Have we moved too far from this population group??

This is particularly clear from the recordings of a rally in Zwickau on May 1, 2016. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has come to give a speech. But the demonstrators hostile to him. They whistle, scream at the top of their heads, "Get away" and "traitor". They hold up signs: "Here is the ‘pack’" and "freedom of expression" can be read on it. Maas, who can hardly be heard in the midst of the noise, calls into the microphone: "Do you actually know how ridiculous it is to uphold freedom of expression here and to do nothing but to prohibit others from saying their opinion?"

The crowd cheers as Maas drives away

A few minutes later, Maas quickly runs to his company car, gets in and rushes off. The Zwickau crowd cheers. The meeting will also be addressed at the AfD party conference, which is taking place in Stuttgart at the same time. "Mr. Maas was chased away by the May Day demo in Zwickau today," announced the Saxon AfD politician Uwe Wurlitzer. "He fled with his car, I thought that was really good." The AfD party conference reacts in a similar way to the demonstrators in Zwickau: with frenetic applause and standing ovations.

"The hatred in the eyes that I saw there – I have never seen it anywhere else before," Maas later said in an interview with Lamby about his performance in Zwickau. “You are perceived as someone who needs to be combated. So it’s no longer about what you say, it’s just about who you are. ”The film shows that many citizens have lost confidence in the so-called“ establishment ”, the“ elite ”. This includes all established parties, but also the media.

Lamby’s camera team is insulted at a Pegida demonstration in Dresden. “Lies press” is sometimes the most pious insult. Lamby asks two young men which source of information is best for them. Pegida’s Facebook page, the two respond promptly.

"If so many people read us, it is probably because we are so witty."

But "Nervous Republic" is by no means a blame that only blames the uneducated, the downcast and populists. The documentation rather asks about the motives for the current situation. Many of Lamby’s interlocutors appear self-critical. For example, Julian Reichelt, chairman of the editor-in-chief of the picture, says: “As media, we have interpreted our enormous reach for decades as enormous approval. As a relatively vain industry, we said to ourselves: ‘Well, if so many people read us, listen to us, watch us on TV, it is probably because we are so clever, clever, analytical and astute.’

It was ignored that there had long been little alternative to traditional media – a situation that changed with the advent of social media. Reichelt says: “All of a sudden, many people now feel that social media is giving them access to the truth that we (the media) could have kept from them for decades. And that actually created a new parallel society in the digital world. "

"Nervous Republic – One Year Germany" is a documentary that provides an exciting insight into the pressure that politics and the media are under. Although the film always sees both professions as opponents, it flashes again and again how much their everyday life is similar. They hurry through bright glass buildings and sit at large conference tables. SPD general secretary Katarina Barley can be informed about the current survey results. Bild.de boss Julian Reichelt checks on his computer which articles get the most clicks. Sahra Wagenknecht says that she reaches about one million people on Facebook in a week, "that’s a medium-sized newspaper". They all struggle for attention. And they all experience a change with the strengthening of the AfD, which makes them nervous.

The film "Nervous Republic – A Year in Germany" by director Stephan Lamby was first broadcast on April 19. It is available in the On April 25, 2017 it will be shown at 10:15 p.m. on NDR television and at 10:45 p.m. on rbb television. Repeats follow on May 18, 19 and 20 on Phoenix.

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TEXT: Julia Huber

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