The Theatre of Politics

60 minutes
Written and Directed by Stephan Lamby and Klaus Radke

Liberal Democrat Guido Westerwelle is on tour campaigning with his “Guidomobil”. Edmund Stoiber, Bavarian PM, visits a talk show with his daughter. Chancellor Schröder likes to be seen with football player Rudi Völler. Gregor Gysi and Jürgen Trittin are axchanging jokes with Harald Schmidt. Hans Eichel, secretary for finance, is cycling to the Bundestag to deliver his budget speech. And Hessen’s PM Roland Koch s good at being the bad guy.

It is election time in Germany. Permanently. Politicians adapt their appearances to the needs of a media society. As a consequence, talk shows and entertainment formats take hold of their private life. Messages are dropped for good punch lines. Effect replaces conviction. There is no alternative to “politainment” strategies in the permanent campaign. If politician do not run with the media pack, they are ignored. But if they adjust too much to showbusiness, they must obey laws which they have not passed. In the end, both politicians and politics itself are the losers.

Stephan Lamby and Klaus Radke have scrutinized the media strategies of politicians. They have looked closely at hundreds of TV appearances and assembled them anew, from “Christiansen” to “Raab”, from Berlusconi to Möllemann. Moreover, they have talked to spin doctors like a film director, a pop music manager, a tabloid tycoon and the former election campaigner of Bill Clinton.

the result is not a damnation of the spectacle of politics. Instead, the film describes tha changes and challenges of the media democracy.

First Broadcast:
September 2002