It's the classic front-line story: Ganz's German war correspondent goes off to Beirut to cover the Lebanese war, and while there suffers a crisis of conscience about whether he should passively observe or actively intervene. So far, so straightforward, except that Schlöndorff actually made his film in Beirut, yards away from the real carnage, which not only gives it an immediacy and power missing from, say, Missing or Under Fire, but also questions our whole experience of, and attitude towards, 'the pornography of violence' as portrayed by the news media. To complicate things further, Polish director Skolimowski is on hand, playing Ganz's photographer who casually (an)aesthetises the corpses around him as he wanders the streets. A brave film full of danger, and all the more disturbing and provocative for that.
Cast and crew
Volker Schlöndorff, Jean-Claude Carrière, Margarethe von Trotta, Kai Hermann
Bruno Ganz Hanna Schygulla Jerzy Skolimowski Gila von Weitershausen Jean Carmet Martin Urtel