Andres Veiel / Germany / 2011 / 124min
John Holloway recently wrote in The Guardian “I do not like violence…and yet I feel a surge of pleasure when I see the reaction…to the acceptance by the Greek parliament of the measures imposed by the European Union. More: if there had not been an explosion of anger, I would have felt adrift in a sea of depression”. Based on a true story, Andres Veiel’s film charts the lives of two young radicals in 60s Germany, and their involvement in militant groups and the publication of extremist political manifestos.
This is the documentary maker’s first fiction feature; the camera is observant and invasive, reminiscent of his previous work. A swinging 60s soundtrack juxtaposes but compliments the intense drama. Intellectual and engaging, you’ll be left mulling it over for hours after you leave the cinema. Is violence the answer? Will it inevitably lead to change, or is it the only way to get the attention of the people who prevent it? If Not Us, Who? captures and condenses the rise of political extremism, moral obligation and violent social activism into a brief two hours. Holloway’s point is that it’s important not to be ambivalent to oppression. And if we don’t do something about it, who will?