Knife in the Head (Messer Im Kopf)

Thurday, February 17, 2005 – 7:30 pm
West Germany 1978. Director: Reinhard Hauff

A disturbing and suspenseful film, “Knife in the Head” examines the catastrophic effects on one man of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dr. Berthold Hoffman (Bruno Ganz) is a leading biogeneticist, married to his work and disinterested in politics. One night he goes to meet his estranged wife at the youth centre where she works. The police are there rounding up radicals who frequent the centre, and during the violent confrontation that ensues, Hoffman is caught in the cross-fire and shot in the head by one of the policemen. He awakes in hospital with no memory of the event, partially paralyzed and unable to speak. To justify the police violence against him, there is an attempt by the state to frame him for a nonexistent crime. Portrayed as a radical and a terrorist in the newspapers, Hoffman’s cause is also taken up by leftist groups eager to portray him as a hero and a martyr. His future depends upon being able to retrace the events of a forgotten past, and Hoffman must begin at the very beginning – learning how to feed himself, to talk, and to walk. What follows is a meticulous and carefully observed portrait of a gravely handicapped man discovering all over again how to lead his life. Colour, 35mm, in German with English subtitles. 113 mins.

The program will include a post-screening discussion with:
Dr. Robert Stowe. Dr. Stowe is a behavioural neurologist with the UBC and Riverview Hospital Neuropsychiatry programs, where he strives to understand the complex interplay of neurological, psychosocial, characterological, and psychiatric aspects involved in the rehabilitation of individuals recovering from brain injuries.

Evening moderated by:
Dr. Harry Karlinsky Director of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.
Co-sponsored by the UBC Dept of Psychiatry Neuropsychiatry Program and the Lower Mainland Brain Injury Association