In excellent constitution – 60 Years of Basic Law

60 years ago, on May 23rd, 1949, the fundamental law of the new Federal Republic of Germany was signed in a solemn ceremony of the Parliamentary Council in Bonn. For well-known historians and renowned politicians, it is one of the best constitutions in the world.

The film traces the important stages of development of the Basic Law, from the Constitutional Convention at Herrenchiemsee to the Parliamentary Council in Bonn. In the old castle of Herrenchiemsee, in the historic dining room of Bavarian King Ludwig II., the last living witness remembers and recounts this historic day. The sometimes violent disputes over content and formulations in the Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Council are documented in staged scenes, using original texts. In addition, barely seen photographs will come to light.

For the observance of the Basic Law, the Federal Constitutional Court has played a crucial role for almost 60 years. The film highlights the work of the judges in red robes, shows judgments of great scope, and milestones of the German judicial history. For the first time, a television crew is allowed to film behind the scenes of the Federal Constitutional Court.

The world today is different from 1949. Reunification, globalization, social upheaval, and international terrorism test the basic law every day. Does it still have the right answers? In selected examples, the constitution and how it has been modified is revealed: war and foreign missions, family policy and child poverty, and Internet eavesdropping.

The Basic Law has found many imitators around the world; it has become the “cultural foreign policy.” But now it competes with the European law and must be able to coexist.

The Basic Law – a success story? The documentary consists of many experts, among them are former Federal President Roman Herzog, former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, former Constitutional Court President Jutta Limbach and the acting President of the Federal Constitutional Court Hans-Jürgen Papier (in 2009).