SPK Complex / SPK Komplex

In 1970, Dr. Wolfgang Huber and a group of patients founded the anti-psychiatric “Socialist Patient’s Collective” (SPK) in Heidelberg. Controversial therapy methods, political demands, and a massive interest in the movement from patients deeply distrustful of conventional “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.



Country of Production

Year of Production


111 min

Gerd Kroske

realistfilm in co-production with rbb

Original Language


Festivals / Awards

Berlinale 2018
Dokfilmwoche Hamburg 2018
DOK.fest Munich 2018
Neisse FF 2018
PerSo Perugia Social FF 2018 (opening film; Clara Sereni Award for Best Psychiatry-themed Documentary)
Rendezvous With Madness FF Toronto 2018
Duisburger Filmwoche 2018
Cineuropa FF Santiago de Compostela 2018