The Third Generation (1979) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A mogul merrily funds terrorists to boost his computer sales, by panicking West German government and industry c. 1980, as the third generation of Western European left-wing activists forms, after crippling of the violent Red Army Faction. Released in 1979, largely unavailable until 2004. International kapitalist PJ Lurz's secretary is a gang member, while her Polizeikommissar father-in-law/lover hired Lurz' corporate security force.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The Third Generation was once regarded as a highly controversial film in Germany. The Film opens in a high rise overlooking Berlin, Germany, as the sound of a heart beating and the T.V. are heard. Peter Lurz (Eddie Constantine), a well to do and established man in his 60s who sells computers, is looking out the window as his secretary Susanne Gast (Hanna Schygulla) is on the phone behind him. A man in his mid 50s wearing a putty colored trench coat and a hat, Officer Gerhard Gast (Hark Bohm), who's there to pick up Susanne, his daughter in law, engages in a conversation with Lurz. Officer Gast tells Lurz that he is being watched and is under police protection. In route of taking his daughter in-law home for dinner they both have a sexual experience at a hotel room. While having dinner with the whole family, Grandpa Gast (Claus Holm) tells the husband of Susanne, Edgar Gast (Udo Kier) that every generation needs a war. In all this we see visuals pop up of reported headlines of racial and hateful graffiti in public places. Susanne makes her rounds to other contacts. She approaches Hilde Kriger (Bulle Ogier), a school teacher, and tells her "The world as will and idea," a common code phase that is used amongst the terrorist. This is when sound takes the floor in this movie. Characters are introduced sporadically. August Brem (Volker Spengler) approaches Rudolf Mann (Harry Baer) in a record store where he works. The phrase "the world as will and idea" is spoken to him almost like a calling. Petra Vielhabor (Margrit Carstensen) who argues with her husband Hans (Jurgen Draegon) constantly gets the calling. During this time, when all of the characters are introduced, they are surrounded by noise from music, T.V. and radio. They are all extremely paranoid and tense. Their are to meet at Rudolf's apartment so they could meet Paul (Raul Grimenez), their so called leader of the terrorist group. While at the apartment they almost agree to kick out Ilse Hoffman (Y So Lo), a drug addict. They feel that she is a threat. August mentions it first to Rudolph who does nothing because he has compassion for her. Paul arrives and their so excited to see him for the first time. He makes forced arrangements to stay with Hilde in her apartment and rapes her. Two visitors come to see Ilse, Franz Walsch (Günther Kaufman) and Bernhard Von Stein (Vitus Zepichal). Franz is a long time friend and lover of Ilse. They decide to stay with her and help her drug problem. The others find books in Von Stein's suitcase and start tossing it around as Von Stein cries for it back. They act like children playing in a field. Times are tense and get even worse when Paul is gunned down at a restaurant in front of Edgar who's faced by his father at the site. They are all afraid and decide to change their identity. August gives out paper squares to the group. Some have a mark and some don't. Petra, Rudolf and Hilde got the mark and had to break into the post office. Rudolph peed in his pants, he was so scared. The others laugh when they get back but not for long when Franz finds Ilse dead. Petra and some of the other terrorists rob the very bank that Petra's husband works in. While they are escaping, Petra shoots and kills her husband. They frantically change their looks and names and flee from their homes. Von Stein is seriously interrogated by Officer Gast as to their whereabouts. Von Stein genuinely doesn't know but gets curious and follows August undetected. He sees Lurz give August money to fund terrorism at a Chinese restaurant. August sets up Franz by telling him where Ilse is buried. He then calls the authorities and gets him killed. August does the same to Petra when she is instructed to place a bomb and gets intercepted and killed by police. Von Stein is caught by Officer Gast at the cemetery when he tried to warn Franz that it was a setup and not to go to Ilse's grave. Von Stein tells Officer Gast of what he saw at the Chinese restaurant and mysteriously falls down a long flight of stairs and is killed. Paul Lurz is willingly kidnapped by the remaining terrorists and videotaped in a basement as he slates his name and his position in the state.

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