I finally got around to watching Eight Miles High (Das wilde Leben), a movie based on the biography of German Sixties-icon Uschi Obermaier. As expected, it was pretty bad — partly, because the story line is as transparent and insubstantial as the fabric of Uschi’s clothes; partly, because the legendary era of the late Sixties looks annoyingly shallow; but also, because the actress who portrays Uschi (Natalia Avelon) just isn’t convincing. Supposedly, men were drawn to Uschi like the proverbial moths to the candle flame, and Natalia’s allure wasn’t all that credible. “She has nice tits”, was my friend’s verdict who is the world’s foremost authority on hot chicks (albeit self-proclaimed). But totally gorgeous? Nah.
Why do I bother writing about a former fashion model and a stupid movie. Well, both evoked my own past which ran on similar tracks and yet was totally different. I was born the same year as Uschi and went to Munich to get away from authoritarian and oppressive parents. But for me, the social unrest of the late Sixties and early Seventies wasn’t so much about beautiful people and having fun etc., as it was a protest against a bourgeois society that I held responsible for the Nazi-time and its atrocities. I wanted to change things — seriously, and have fun, too… Which meant that I had some rather painful experiences, getting arrested, learning of friends who were shot by the police, and later, learning of friends who sat in prison for years.
I traveled to India in 1970, overland in a bus — but unlike Uschi’s luxury vehicle, I went in an old, beat-up VW-camper, which guaranteed many harrowing adventures. Like her, I didn’t go back to live in Germany but ended up in the U.S — in my case, after staying in Japan a few years. But I never would have lost a thought about Uschi or noticed the movie but for the fact that a good friend of hers lives in a tiny village in northern New Mexico, about 15 minutes away from the tiny village where I live. While we didn’t run into each other in Munich, we knew many of the same people, and talking to her evoked a lot of memories. Small world.
In any case, the movie “Uschi” doesn’t do her justice, so I dug up some pictures of the “real deal”; I believe she deserves it.