email Join our email list! divider Register Login cartCart
Icarus Film
Films from independent
producers worldwide.
32 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201divider(718) 488 8900
SPK Complex

A film by Gerd Kroske

 Text Size  Increase Font Size   Decrease Font Size   divider Printable VersionPrintable Version

film still

In 1970, Dr. Wolfgang Huber and a group of patients founded the anti-psychiatric "Socialist Patients' Collective" or SPK in Heidelberg, Germany. Controversial therapy methods, political demands, and a massive interest in the movement from patients deeply distrustful of convention "custodial psychiatry," led to run-ins with the University of Heidelberg and local authorities.  The conflict quickly escalated and resulted in the radicalization of the SPK. Their experiment in group therapy ultimately ended in arrests, prison, and the revocation of Huber's license to practice medicine.

From a historical perspective, the SPK court cases seem to anticipate the Stammheim trials, with the exclusion of defense attorneys, the total non-compliance of the defendants, and harsh penalties for both Huber and his wife. The severity of the sentences handed down appears hardly proportional to the actual deeds of the accused. The allegation of having supported the RAF, and thus of being complicit in their terrorism, still clings to the SPK and overlies what the movement was originally about: the rights of psychiatric patients, resistance, and self-empowerment - issues that are still relevant today.

SPK COMPLEX focuses on the untold story of events before the "German Autumn" and their consequences up to the present day. A story of insanity, public perception, and (un)avoidable violence.

“As documentary SPK Complex [shows], the theories behind Germany’s Socialist Patients Collective (SPK) turned medical treatment on its head–but led some of them to the Red Army Faction.” —The Guardian

"An intriguing, enlightening documentary; SPK Complex provides an eye-opening revelation of a significant moment in political history." —The Upcoming

"An astute work of art." —Der Tagesspiegel

"A precise picture of the social climate in Germany shortly before the German Autumn." —RBB Radio 1

"Highly recommended! Examines a highly contentious and politically violent event; of interest to higher educational classes concentrating on recent German history, social and political movements, and violence in modern society." —Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)

"SPK COMPLEX provides an intriguing glimpse into a nearly forgotten footnote in the radical movements of the 70's." —Video Librarian

2018 Berlinale Forum
2018 Dokfilmwoche Hamburg
2018 DOK.fest Munich
2018 Neisse Film Festival
2018 Rendez-vous with Madness Film Festival
2019 Western Psychological Association

111 minutes / Color
/ English subtitles
Release: 2018
Copyright: 2018

For individual consumers (home video)

This title is available online from:

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Medical Ethics, Mental Health, Psychiatry, Human Rights, Germany, History (World), Politics, Social Movements

Watch the trailer:

Related Titles:
Home | New | Titles | Subjects | Ordering   
About | Best Sellers | Filmmakers | Screenings   
  Follow Us! On...
Facebook Follow Icarus Films on Twitter Instagram Vimeo YouTube
Copyright (c) 2024, Icarus Films
Last Updated January 25, 2024 [Build 3.0.a060-d7]
Privacy Policy