Monday, April 25, 2016

Er ist wieder da

2015, Germany, directed by David Wnendt (aka Look Who's Back)

When I was in Berlin last year, there were posters everywhere for this but I couldn't make my schedule work to take it in; I'd heard of the book, which posits Hitler inexplicably awakening in modern-day Berlin, and read mixed things about the success of the film, though it's certainly worth a look as a curiosity and a muddled commentary on modern German pop culture (as well as the continued efforts of Germans to deal with their country's past). The land of Goethe and Schiller has no equal in its ability to plumb the depths when it comes to reality TV culture, and the film makes a good deal of hay with this, but what's most notable is the exceptional commitment of Oliver Masucci as Hitler, staying in character in the unscripted, public sequences to a quite extraordinary degree. Obviously, there's a debate to be had as to whether you can effectively use Borat-style tactics when you're dealing with an actual historical figure rather than an invented Kazakh lunatic, but there's an unfakeable discomfort that comes from the bizarrely warm embrace with which "Hitler" is met in so many quarters.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States