Few film-makers wear their hearts as openly on their sleeves as Margarethe von Trotta, and her fascination with women (their relationships with each other and their definition - often redefinition - of themselves) is as apparent in this, her first solo feature, as it was in the later The German Sisters or Friends and Husbands. Christa Klages (Engel) is a young mother who turns terrorist and bank robber to prevent the closure of a crêche which she helps to run and her daughter attends. On the run with her friend and sometime lover, Christa is pursued by the police, and more mysteriously by a young woman (Thalbach) who was her hostage in the bank raid. What von Trotta has to say about her women is compelling, and she remains one of the few film-makers to portray terrorists convincingly. But the enigma of the hostage runs through the film as elusively as a character in a dream - vitally important at any given moment, but irritatingly meaningless when taken as a whole - and undermines the conviction of this feminist thriller which is otherwise so gloriously rooted in West Germany's present.