Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Springtime for Hitler in Germany

I don't know whether to be relieved or appalled by this story; is it a welcome sign of Germany's normality, or does it herald the beginning of a new and more sinister trend with respect to cinematic treatments of the German past?

A new film which breaks one of the last taboos of German cinema by portraying Hitler in a central role, has premiered in Berlin.
The Downfall, written and produced by Bernd Eichinger, follows Hitler's final days leading up to his suicide.
Rather than showing Hitler as a malicious dictator, it portrays him as a soft-spoken man with a human side.
It has caused controversy in a country still trying to come to terms with the events of World War II.


Dr Rolf Giesen, from the Film Museum in Berlin, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme the film had broken taboos in German cinema.
"It is not the first time that they have shown Adolf Hitler on the screen, but it is certainly the first time that they have tried to discover the human touch in that monster," he said.
"It is aimed at the generation who did not know about the terrors of World War II and national socialism.
Juliane Kohler and Bruno Ganz - copyright Constantin Films
Juliane Kohler played Hitler's wife Eva Braun
"This youth will find it a fascinating insight in to the fatalism of evil.
"We have just seen Mel Gibson's Passion of The Christ, now we have the Passion of Adolf Hitler."
A trailer for the movie can be found here (warning: requires knowledge of German). I can't help wondering what the point is to making a movie about Hitler that gives him a "human touch", though I suppose I ought to wait and see the thing before I make my mind up one way or another.