Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Die Stille nach dem Schuß (2001)

The Legend of Rita is a 2001 German film about a group of four radical, communist, terrorists who flee the West into the GDR when they kill some police escaping prison. The East German Stasi is not crazy about protecting a group of people willing to defy government, but in the end they give them the option of new identities and a life inside the communist system that they are fighting for. The two men in the group turn the opportunity down and eventually die in the West, but the two women, including Rita, accept.

The film does a good job of reflecting the era and environment of seventies East Germany, perhaps too good a job. It is not a particularly uplifting or entertaining film. However, the character of Rita is a curiosity. She is perhaps the only communist commoner in East Germany who believes in the society. Everyone in this film is beaten down. They are living in a system that removes all individuality and freedom. Their spirits have been killed. Yet Rita believes so strongly in the philosophy behind the system that she has committed violent crime and terrorized societies in the name of that system. Given the chance to live it, she is overjoyed and blind to the apathy around her.

This may be a case of an incomplete illustration, but it brings the experience of many an MK to mind. Returning back to the Bible Belt from a life in countries where Christians are both few-and-far-between but serious about their faith, MKs often feel like Rita. They are excited to be in a place where “everyone believes like me,” only to find with disillusionment that a vast majority don’t. Just as the East German communists didn’t believe in the Marxism and lived miserable lives, many an American Evangelical seems miserable trying to reconcile their nominal Christianity with their many other isms and idols.

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