Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Hitler, ein Film aus Deutschland, Teil II: Ein deutscher Traum

Hitler, elokuva Saksasta II: Saksalainen uni / Hitler, a Film from Germany II: A German Dream. Ein deutscher Traum... bis ans Ende der Welt / A German Dream... Until the End of the World. See credits 29 March. 132 min. Brilliant 35mm print, e-subtitles in Finnish by Pirjo Brech. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 30 March 2005. SYBERBERG: "Einstein expresses his thoughts on the war and the nature of the peace that will follow. We see the Black Maria in a snow storm within a glass ball, and an enormous eye, in which Karl May can be seen ascending and opening the curtain to paradise. The little girl reappears with the puppet of Ludwig, and, in the great eye, the scene of Ludwig's first death, his inner death, appears.
We see a model of the small German town where Karl May was born; snow is being strewn over it; scenes from his life are recalled, and his warning at the end: "Woe, if the wrong man comes!"
The scene changes to a fairground. It is snowing. Shop window models standing about as spectators; a chamber of horrors, in which figures and scenes from the Nazi era appear, Himmler's masseur, and the cosmologist who propounded the world ice theory, Hitler's valet, magicians and fairground people, and the emblems of Nazi mythology. Images of the Nazi Leader, aged, and beyond death, can be seen to the accompaniment of a monologue on the film legacy of the Third Reich. A scene from the 1920s follows, as if it were today, theatrical, with projections of dolls' heads and full size models: two men discuss the need for a strong leader to rid Germany of its humiliation; they will speak of creating a new paradise, as it existed on earth before the Fall, which will come about after a world-shaking catastrophe. One of the rigid models, the figure of Goebbels, comes to life. He describes a scene in which Hitler overwhelms a political meeting with his rhetoric, how the people are suddenly united by his words, and are raised from their sense of defeat and humiliation.
Against a background depicting the Wahnfried House in Bayreuth a man discusses his plan to gain absolute power. Models stand about in Nazi uniform; a recitation from the Futurists' manifesto is heard. Hitler appears, in Roman robes, rising from the grave of Richard Wagner. In a long monologue, Heinz Schubert as Hitler explains the origins of power. Historical and social circumstances and ironies, industry, the intellectuals, Soviet communism, the bourgeoisie, and the Jews themselves. He was merely the product of West European civilization, the realization of the private needs and dreams of an age. Before the ruins of Wahnfried three black GIs dance with a blonde girl about the grave of Wagner.
The cosmologist is wheeled on, prophesies the coming of upheaval and turbulent times, and the birth of a race of giants, who will conquer the world and create a new culture that will last a thousand years, the new Aryan race, the German dream.
A student of this theory wanders through a scene in which full size photographic figures stand, figures of German society, judges and industrialists, workers, pensioners, children, SS men, farmers and cripples from the First World War. He celebrates the theory and describes the creation of new men, a new order, describes how, with his death, will come the destruction not only of their love for him, but of their love for all things German, the good as well as the bad, how they will flee into materialism and raise a generation that will repay them with terror" (BFI Catalogue for the Edinburgh Film Festival 1992)

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