Day of the Idiots (German: Tag der Idioten) is a 1981 West German psychological fantasy film drama directed and written by Werner Schroeter. It stars Carole Bouquet as a disturbed mental patient with an inclination to remove her clothes and Ingrid Caven as Dr. Laura and Christine Kaufmann as Ruth.
The film was nominated for a Golden Palm Award at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival and won best film at the 1982 German Film Awards going to director Werner Schroeter.
With Tag der Idioten (1982), Schroeter perhaps draws upon his brief studies of psychology. The film centres around a passionate woman, Carole (played by the well-known French actor Carole Bouquet) who feels alienated and repressed by the highly institutionalised public and private spheres of Western society. Unable to extract any kind of emotional response from her reserved boyfriend, Carole seeks attention by falsely denouncing her neighbours as terrorists. With this detail Schroeter briefly touches upon the panic and paranoia that was brought about by the German government crackdown on terrorism at its height during 1977 and Carole’s subsequent institutionalisation in a mental asylum can be seen as an allegory for a society wishing to suppress radical activity of any sort. In Tag der Idioten Schroeter returns to a less linear narrative structure, more reminiscent of the episodic films of his second phase. He employs numerous hallucinatory sequences in order to convey the protagonist’s state of mind. Furthermore, much of the film’s meaning is delivered through Carole’s body, facial expressions and gestures rather than through dialogue, and the film’s montage serves to create spatial and temporal disorientation. Schroeter again won the German Film Prize for best direction for this film.