Stream/Society--Antigone Series--Germany in Autumn (1978)


Location: Streaming (online)

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Screening & Zoom Discussion:

Germany in Autumn
Alexander Kluge/Rainer Werner Fassbinder/Edgar Reitz/Volker Schlondorff/Alf Brustellin/Hans Peter Cloos/Maximiliane Mainka/Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus/Katja Rupe/Peter Schubert/Bernhard Sinkel, 1978, 119 min, West Germany, German with English subtitles, Color/B&W).

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-- Introduced by Stefani Engelstein  (Professor of German Studies, Duke University) 

Relevant Publications:   

Germany in Autumn is a montage film including segments from 11 directors, all of which reflect on the tragic events of autumn 1977, when ex-SS public official Hanns Martin Schleyer was kidnapped and murdered by the Red Army Faction (aka Baader-Meinhof group), 3 of whose members mysteriously died in prison. Opening with the official burial of Schleyer and ending with the police-interrupted burial of the Red Army Faction members, the film as a whole is structured by the differential burial to which the “friend” and “enemy” of the state are subjected. Germany in Autumn thus echoes the differential burial to which Creon subjects Eteocles and Polyneices in Sophocles’ ancient tragedy, Antigone. Yet Antigone makes more than one appearance in Germany in Autumn. On the one hand, Fassbinder replays the agon between Creon and Antigone in his own confrontation of his mother’s support for the dictatorship. On the other hand, Volker Schlöndorff’s segment forces the ancient tragedy to become comic, in order to circumvent the authoritarian censure of any critical reflection on Germany’s fascist past and its liberal afterlife.

-- Followed by Zoom discussion (see registration link above)

Antigone Film Series:

In preparation for a two-day colloquium on Antigone in the world, the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, in collaboration with Screen/Society, is happy to announce a 4-part international film series on Antigone, scheduled throughout Fall 2020. Curated by project co-organizer, Andrés Fabián Henao Castro, the four films selected are not strictly adaptations of Antigone (only one explicitly refers to Sophocles’ play), but each takes up the themes of political violence and contested burials in ways that productively resonate with the ancient tragedy. From Germany to the México-US border, and from Peru to the Congo, the political contestation over who can or cannot be buried exposes more than one violence in its course and invites us to reflect, yet again, on the historical violence that lays at the foundation of the state. The Antigone Film Series has been organized in preparation for a two-day Colloquium on “Antigone’s Worldings,” that will explore the reception, adaptation, and criticism of Sophocles’ ancient drama in a global text, in the Fall of 2021.

Other screenings in this online/streaming series:


Film still from 'Germany in Autumn' (1978)

Contact: Hank Okazaki


Sponsor: Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI)--World Arts series

Co-Sponsors: Cinematic Arts at Duke University