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Berlin Affair

February 23, 1986|Gerald Peary

The Zoo-Palast Theater at the 36th Berlin Film Festival underwent a semi-state of siege Tuesday when riot police stood around anticipating trouble from ultra-leftist sympathizers of the Baader-Meinhof Group, whose 1975 trial for terrorist activities is re-created in the docudrama film, "Stammheim." They mistakenly arrested a photographer but missed a protester who launched a stink bomb into the huge theater.

The screening went on--with the potent odor. At a packed press conference, "Stammheim" director Reinhard Hauff was pleased that his film, named for the prison where the terrorist gang spent three years before its trial, is being widely seen in Germany: "The question then and now is the same: How is the state going to deal with its radical opponents, whether it's Baader-Meinhof or anti-nuclear groups?"

Among the best received films in competition the first week was "Ahora Da Estrela" ("Hour of the Star"), a stylish Brazilian film about a poor country girl who comes to the big city. It's directed by Suzana Amaral, a divorced mother of nine who went to the U. of Sao Paolo at the same time as her oldest son, now 30, then attended the NYU Graduate Film School in 1976-78. She made 40 documentaries before this first feature.

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