Thursday, March 03, 2005

DOWNFALL--That Hitler can't Help but Entertain

We saw DOWNFALL last night. It was about the end of Hitler's Third Reich, the end of Hitler, the end of Germany's design on the world. What a horror movie in a bunker. So disturbing. Yet, oddly, it was sad to see poor ol' Adolf lose his grip much in the way it is sad to see anyone's plans fail. This was sort of amazing, how they showed Hitler's humanity, insane monster that he was. Of course, since it was depicted so well, only a total Neo-Nazi could sympathize with this monster of history. And I bet if any hero worshipping skinheads do find this foreign film out there in the wilds and malls of the United States, they will sympathize with him. Kind of scary. You almost want to put a stop to letting the film be shown outside of the liberal cities. Yet, there were people in this country who agreed with everything Archie Bunker said, missing the irony. We cannot control the minds of men through art. And speaking of bunkers...the scenes of the partying by the remains of Hitler's loyalists that goes on in the bunker in the middle of Berlin as Germany is roasting in bombs and flames up above can only be described as your worst acid trip you've ever been on, with spaetzle.

But what the movie brought up, besides the horror, was a bigger problem with Hitler's plan than what we usually think. This movie, eerily hits us at a human, compassionate level. In fact, the theme of this movie was about the struggle between cold, calculated science and compassion. Bruno Gantz, playing Hitler to the nines, is a monster in public and a sweet guy in private. As a monster, his plan executed the machinations of a mad, evil, militaristic, scientist, cult leader genius. It was so Darwinian in its fundamental reasoning and even though it was so ill conceived, you have to admit that the guy had the gumption to really get behind his convictions. I bet Ayn Rand loved him. And as far as sympathetic characters in movies go, well, don't we always root for the underdog? Or even worse, don't we always root for the person who really GOES FOR IT? Don't we, like all those wretched Germans in the 1930's and 1940's just LOVE a pecking order? This is, I think, the core of what is wrong with the human psyche and the core of what is wrong with bio-pics. We just LOVE narrow minded individuals who can't be stopped when it comes to achieving their goals. And we'll cheer them on and follow them right into the grave. I'd rather hang with someone who is not trying to lead, but just trying to get by, like a clever bugs bunny who alwasy tries to get out of scrapes with his wits.

Hitler, what a maroon.

Interestingly, as an American political aside, and I think it was not just happenstance, Hitler screams something close to, "The people have chosen me! I am their mandate. Let them all die when Germany goes down."

That translated word, "mandate", wreaks of George Bush, which may have been the intention of Olivier Hirshbiegel, the director. Or I may be reading too much into it. Or the translator picked that word as a wink to the American movie going public. When the lights come back up at the end of the movie, you thankfully realize that Bush is not as smart as Hitler, nor as charismatic, nor leading a desperately bankrupt country, and he's a lame duck, not quite so evil, plus he has no real ability to rally up Americans, at this point, to continue with his ill conceived restructuring of the United States and of the world. However, I did enjoy the slight comparison of Hitler to Bush. Why not?

Bad Bush Be Gone. Get out of my blog. Let's get back to movie magic.

What remains so devilishly scary, as one watches this film, is the visual truth that those fucking Germans are so damn good looking.
Hitler totally turned straight hair, good cheekbones, height and good clean white skin into a total fetish. The whole thing, with its death base, had a super sex thing going on. Seems to me. As my very cute Jewish friend Karen said after the last Nazi horror movie we saw, "Those Germans are so damn cute, in a verboten kind of way."

Though Hitler's plan did not work, I think the added horror of it, besides his Napoleonic ambitions and his killing of all those Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, Misfits, Poles and Gays is that there is a speck, and I mean a speck, of some interesting scientific value to what he was after. We breed dogs, right? Why NOT people? Darwin was innocent but his dumb opportunistic cousin, Galton, sure wasn't. I would put a link here about Galton, the father of Eugenics, however, all links seem to lead to the Christian Right. That Funky Eugenics Movement: all conceived in England. Another great thing the British Empire gave to the world.

And, being the big, fat, ugly orphan of England, we have to also look at what has happened in the United States. Our class system, classically, has been based on skin color and even height. And though it is getting better, the remnants of this type of putting the society in order are still flagrant. And it shows up everywhere. In our corporations and in our art. Sitting here in my Hollywood bungalow, I can't help but notice how the dream machine works, spitting back at us the mirror of our Western world. Hollywood, though it likes to think of itself as liberal, is really a money sucking bottom line sort of place. Whitey sells.

I think, sadly, Hollywood picked up where Hitler left off.

"The pretty will inherit the Earth" --just ask any Native American.

So, we need to be careful. We need to normalize. We need to close our eyes to the visual and open our eyes to human need and dignity. I think. But I'm just a crazy ol' socialist. The good kind of socialist. Is it not odd that the National Socialist Movement also uses the term Socialist? Do a search for them. I can't even put a link here because they are so scary. In fact, friends, they are all over the United States. Shudder.

What can we do to never let another Hitler happen again? I have friends who say another Hitler can happen again, not only in the world, but right here in the United States. These people are the children of Holocaust survivors, so I understand their hypersensitivity, though that opinion does seem a bit out of balance and paranoid. But then again, the National Socialist Movement exists in this country. And, the neocons, well, they are completely world thirsty. I would like to say it can never happen here, however, when the Bush war machine was at its peak and you could feel Rumsfeld checking your library record, all I kept thinking was, "I better get my gay ass out of here and move to Canada. Honey, grab the dog and the anti-anxiety medication. We're going to stay with Charles up in Vancouver."

Hitler, he repels us all. Yet he still inspires some. We have to be careful. I am hiding out here in Hollywood. And, my house and garage have lovely crawlspaces for those of you who need cover.

Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alice

*10 *11

1 comment:

Dan said...

Something to think about - the people of 1930s Berlin lived within five minutes of public transportation.