QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM VENICE
Luisa (Mala Emde) is a 20-year-old law student and Antifa sympathiser in the city of Mannheim, in Southwestern Germany. She joins a local organisation called P31, which is seeking official recognition. This is where she meets the fiery blonde Batte (Luisa-Céline Gaffron), the quiet Lenor (Tonio Schneider) and the group’s handsome leader Alfa (Noah Saavedra), with whom she develops a romantic relationship. Operating on the edge of legality, the young and passionate activists engage in increasingly unorthodox activities. Their objective if to obstruct and cripple the activities of a local far-right group, which they describe as “Nazis”.
The neo-Nazis are indeed resurgent and prominent. They hold a demonstration in a town square, where they deliver their overtly racist and xenophobic rhetoric. Luisa and her friends pelt them with eggs and pies, and even manage to steal one of their mobile phones. Next they target one of their meetings, where they vandalise their parked cars and physically attack the skinheads. The police arrives and they barely manage to escape. A seriously wounded Luisa is undaunted by her physical pain. Instead she is determined to carry on in their crusade against the fundamentalists. They escalate their tactics to include trespassing, robbery and guns. They eventually come across explosives. But are they prepared to use it?
Could the P31 become the new Baader Meinhof? Perhaps the “fourth generation”? Will they resort to kidnapping, bank robberies and murder? Luisa learns that the German constitution allows for action against those threatening the democratic establishment. She’s convinced that her vigilantism is both justifiable and legal. Her unflinching determination suggests that she is indeed capable of draconian tactics akin to the Baader Meinhof. Her associates are not entirely convinced. Lenor is far more cautious, while Alfa has mixed feelings about Luisa’s ideas.
German television describes the event as a mere clash between the left and the right, creating a false sense of equivalence between the two. Such reductiveness is an affront to the values of Luisa and her friends, but it’s something that they have to grapple with. In a way not dissimilar to Extinction Rebellion in the UK, which the government has recently proposed to classify as a terrorist group.
In addition to the topics of ethical tactics and legal morality, And Tomorrow The Whole World also addresses the generational divide between younger and older left-wingers. An older former activist who has previously done time for his actions is prepared to provide the group with shelter and medical help, but he does not wish to get involved in their vital operations. He explains it: “If you are under 30 and not left-wing you don’t have a heart; if you are over 30 and not right-wing you don’t have a brain”. The topic of elitism is also discussed: Lenor accuses Luisa of being so intent on fighting because she has well-off parents who can support her in case something goes wrong. A luxury which he doesn’t have.
This political thriller contains a number insightful discussions, successfully reflecting upon the nature and limits of political activism. It’s realistic and engaging enough to justify a viewing, even if it could be a little shorter than 111 minutes. Plus the ending a little unremarkable and lukewarm.
And Tomorrow the Entire World is showing in Competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival, which DMovies is covering in loco exclusively for you!