The mocking intelligence which has pricked so many German bubbles in Kluge's films for once seems to have overreached itself. The Patriot is Gabi Teichert (Hoger), the history teacher first seen excavating the past in Germany in Autumn. Here her symbolic quest for a counter-history, expanded to inordinate length, is presented as a whimsical collage of documentary footage, interview material, and fairytale interludes, all supposedly seen from the viewpoint of a knee belonging to a German corporal who died at Stalingrad. Itself a joint but unable to make connections, the knee leaves the spectator to draw his own conclusions while remembering that the casualties of war still deserve their say. The idea is that reading between the lines of these impressions of Germany past and present might - as in Syberberg's Hitler - yield a new concept of history. But Kluge's lesson, muffled by some laborious humour, emerges as pretty banal.
Cast and crew
Alexander von Eschwege