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Thread: Der Untergang/ The Downfall

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    Senior Member Mac Seafraidh's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Der Untergang/The Downfall

    By Ernest Gill


    Hamburg - A chillingly frank screen portrayal of Adolf Hitler's final hours in his Berlin bunker has spawned a national debate over whether Germans are prepared to view the Nazi dictator as a tragic human being rather than as a monster.

    In a country where display of Nazi emblems is banned, Germans are long accustomed to being reminded by television and the movies that Hitler was the 20th Century's ultimate war criminal.

    And in a country where the spectre of neo-Nazism is ever-present, any less than damning portrayal of Hitler in books, on TV or in movies is suspected of playing to radical rightwing sentiments.

    Now, for the first time, Germany's best-known film producer has teamed up with the country's best-known 20th Century historian and a top-notch cast to risk resurrecting Hitler as never before.

    Veteran actor Bruno Ganz stars as Hitler in producer Bernd Eichinger's film, made with the scholarly assistance of award-winning German historian Joachim Fest. Movie audiences will be taken inside the bunker for an eye-witness look at Hitler's final days in a biopic entitled Der Untergang - Hitler Und Das Ende Des Dritten Reiches (Downfall - Hitler And The End Of The Third Reich).

    "Ganz IS Hitler," Fest said at a media screening of the $15m film, which is scheduled for release on September 16.


    'Coming to terms with the past'


    "I took one look at him in full make-up and a chill ran down my spin," said Fest, author of major Hitler biographies. We show him as a sickly shadow of his former self, knowing the end is near."

    But Eichinger said the portrayal is entirely based on historical fact. "I sent my script to Herr Fest and if he had rejected it, my project would have immediately disappeared into a drawer," he said.

    Fest, author of a best-selling biography of Hitler and former publisher of one of Germany's most prestigious daily newspapers, Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, said he had long been puzzled as to why no other historian had taken up the last-days topic, "so I decided to do it myself".

    Eichinger also drew upon the memoirs of the late Traudl Junge, Hitler's last stenographer, who published her memoirs in late 2002 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her book, published only days before she died, contains hitherto unknown insights into life in the bunker in those fateful final days in the spring of 1945.

    Eichinger insisted Germans are sophisticated enough to read between the lines and come to their own conclusions about Hitler. Nonetheless, the movie is hotly debated in the German press and on radio and television talk shows. While critics fear the film could pander to neo-Nazis, others welcome it as a refreshingly candid attempt at what Germans call "vergangenheitsbewaeltigung" - coming to terms with the past.


    Source: http://www.news24.com/News24/Entert...1577930,00.html

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    New Member PsycholgclMishap's Avatar
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    Any news on an International release for this film? Or at least a U.S. release?
    I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.

    ...that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.

    ...that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...

    ...that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.

    ...in the complete freedom of thought and speech...

    ...in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.

    ...in the reality of progress.

    I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie...to be free than to be a slave...to know than be ignorant.

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    Senior Member Mac Seafraidh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PsycholgclMishap
    Any news on an International release for this film? Or at least a U.S. release?
    No Comrade. It just has hit the news actually reguarding the announcement.

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    Senior Member Mac Seafraidh's Avatar
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    Here is the official site: http://www.deruntergang-special.film.de/

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    New Member PsycholgclMishap's Avatar
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    Hah, I wish I was fluent in German.
    I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.

    ...that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.

    ...that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...

    ...that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.

    ...in the complete freedom of thought and speech...

    ...in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.

    ...in the reality of progress.

    I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie...to be free than to be a slave...to know than be ignorant.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mac Seafraidh's Avatar
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    I do too. A few years ago I was pretty close to fluent.

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    Senior Member Ewergrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PsycholgclMishap
    Hah, I wish I was fluent in German.
    And English, too.

    "I wish I were fluent in German."

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    New Member PsycholgclMishap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resurgent Atavism
    Quote Originally Posted by PsycholgclMishap
    Hah, I wish I was fluent in German.
    And English, too.

    "I wish I were fluent in German."
    Well, shit. :smt003

    P.S. I broke up with the mastermind behind SB.
    I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.

    ...that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.

    ...that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...

    ...that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.

    ...in the complete freedom of thought and speech...

    ...in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.

    ...in the reality of progress.

    I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie...to be free than to be a slave...to know than be ignorant.

  9. #9
    Account Inactive friedrich braun's Avatar
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    Twilight of the Gods: Review of 'Der Untergang'

    TWILIGHT OF THE GODS: Review of 'Der Untergang'

    by Constantin von Hoffmeister



    17 November 2004

    "Der Untergang" (2004) is in many ways a brilliant film. It is stylish and sumptuous in all the ways that the contemporary Federal German authorities do not like it. Although graphic in its depiction of the last days of the Third Reich, the fading glory of this Teutonic Empire is evident in nearly all the shots. One feels that the movie tries to capture the myth of the "Fall" with all the pathos and poetic melodrama that it deserves.

    Surprisingly, the film is quite faithful to the book (by national conservative historian Joachim Fest) that it is based on. The epic narrative is tightly told and no moralizing scenes detract from the final struggle that the epic figures (eerily acted with attention to detail, especially obvious in the operatic speech pattern of Dr. Goebbels) of the collapsing National Socialist regime were engaged in.

    The Volkssturm is portrayed as the last stand that it was. The blonde and blue-eyed boys and girls shooting shells at the advancing Soviets is shown not as acts of foolishness as one might expect in today's world of hero-denial, but as a desperate resolve to do to a last bid for the honor of Germany.

    "Der Untergang" is the first German film that depicts an historical account of history from the perspective of National Socialists. For example, Dr. Goebbels in one scene hopefully exclaims that one day all the lies about National Socialism will be cleared while, in another scene, Adolf Hitler displays his disdain for the "decadent Western democracies." Both exclamations are, naturally, without comments from liberal historians. The film simply shows what the NS elite thought and said at the time.

    The only negative point of the film is obviously an obligatory one (in these jewified times of ours). At the end of the film, it reads that World War II cost 50 million lives, and six million Jews died. Now, that is what I call exclusivity!

    CONSTANTIN VON HOFFMEISTER

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    Senior Member Mac Seafraidh's Avatar
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    Hitler Movie `Der Untergang' Draws Crowds, Criticism in Germany

    Hitler Movie `Der Untergang' Draws Crowds, Criticism in Germany


    Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- A film depicting Adolf Hitler's human side is attracting crowds and stirring debate in Germany. Oliver Hirschbiegel's film ``Der Untergang'' (The Downfall) portrays the final days of the Fuhrer's life in his Berlin bunker in 1945. Released in September, it has become one of the best- selling films in Germany, with 400 copies in circulation and attendance of more than 750,000. It has also stirred debate.

    On Nov. 18, the film received Hamburg's ``Bambi'' prize as the best German film of the year. Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl handed the award to Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, who plays Hitler. ``Der Untergang'' has also been nominated for an Oscar as best foreign film. At the core of the controversy surrounding the film is its portrayal of Hitler as a human being, rather than a monster. While Berlin falls in an apocalyptic bloodbath outside his bunker's walls, the dictator is seen eating pasta, praising his cook, charming his secretary, patting his dog, crying and kissing Eva Braun. Should this be permitted?

    German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki praised ``Der Untergang'' on the television talk show ``Berlin Mitte'' as ``important, significant and very well made,'' and suggested that it ought to be shown in all German schools. Film director Wim Wenders, in the weekly newspaper ``Die Zeit,'' condemned the film as a trivialization of history. It didn't take a stance on Hitler or fascism and encouraged the viewer to sympathize with the dictator, he said.


    Right-Wing Actors


    Adding to the controversy, right-wing extremist Karl Richter revealed last month in the ``Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung'' newspaper that he and as many as 20 other neo-Nazis had acted in the film as SS officers, Wehrmacht soldiers and members of the bunker's inner circle. Richter, chief editor of a monthly far-right publication, who played the role of adjutant to General Field Marshall Keitel, lauded the film as ``the beginning of a shift in the historical perception of Hitler.''

    A spokesman for Munich-based production company Constantin Film AG, Thomas Peter Friedl, confirmed that Richter and other neo-Nazis acted in the film. He said that kind of thing was unavoidable but that it didn't alter the film's basic message. Rainer Rother, head of the German Historical Museum's film department and author of a book on Nazi-era movie maker Leni Riefenstahl, told Bloomberg in an interview last week that debates over the humanization of Hitler's image were missing the point. In his cavernous room on the fourth floor of historic offices on Berlin's Museum Island, Rother spoke with quiet intensity to Bloomberg's Shirley Apthorp about his concerns over ``Der Untergang.''


    Charm and Evil


    Apthorp: What do you feel is the problem with the way that ``Der Untergang'' is being discussed in the German media?

    Rother: What has really surprised me is that there has been no discussion about the fact that the time span of the film is limited to the final 12 days of Hitler's life. The film was made to present a portrait of Hitler with his human traits in the foreground. But Hitler backed into a corner, reduced to the world of the bunker, limited in his command options to only a few regiments -- that's not Hitler.

    Hitler was the person who unleashed World War II. He was the person who decided how the war was to be lead. He was the person responsible for the murder of millions of people. Hitler had the ability to make choices. He was charming, as always. But he always chose, and wanted, evil.

    Apthorp: Why do you think the film was set during the last 12 days of Hitler's life?

    Rother: It was all about drama. The final days were a crisis situation. Plenty happens. Hitler kills himself, Magda Goebbels murders her children, and so on. Because there is so much action, it's good cinematic material. That's surely also the reason why it was made. A great deal of money was spent, and the film is running quite successfully.

    But if their objective had really been to do what they claimed -- to portray Hitler as a human being -- they should have chosen a different period. Because the decisions which had to be made during those final days were no longer relevant. There are no more alternatives. There are no longer choices between good and evil. Hitler is portrayed almost as a victim of circumstance.


    Victims or Criminals?


    Apthorp: So, a situation of self-defense is one which sidesteps questions of morality?

    Rother: It's a question of perspective. You can also see it in the way the defense of the bunker is portrayed. The German soldier who defends Berlin in the film is seen chiefly as a protector. In narrative terms, he's the person you sympathize with. The soldiers become victims of false decisions from above. Whereas, in fact, all those who organized the defense of Berlin were perpetrators, and some of them were criminals. In the film, we see the doctor selflessly caring for the wounded. What he did before -- probably carrying out culpable medical experiments on human beings -- no longer plays a role.

    Apthorp: Bernd Eichinger, the film's producer and author, has said that questions about German collective guilt are silly.


    New Image


    Rother: Yes, I agree with him. It's not a question of German collective guilt. One should remain concrete. On the other hand, if the team reacts to the news that one of the actors is a right-wing extremist by saying that things like that happen, well, I think that's not good enough. Sure, things happen, but if you haven't thought about what you are doing, it tends to happen rather more often than if you have.

    When a right-wing extremist reports happily that a new image of Hitler is being projected, it becomes clear that the team ought to have been more clear from the start about which image of Hitler they actually wanted to project. They should have been able to say why this image was incompatible with that of the right-wing extremists.

    Apthorp: Do you think the film promotes a better image of Hitler?

    Rother: I doubt that the German public will start to love Hitler because people have seen ``Der Untergang.'' They aren't that naive. Those who know something about National Socialism and condemn it will shrug their shoulders. The film doesn't say anything new about Nazism. On the other hand, those who are nostalgic for this era or who are so far right that they consider Hitler to have been an acceptable German politician suddenly have a palatable image of Hitler. That was not the case in the world of German film until now.


    No Favor


    Apthorp: Do you agree that such an intimate portrayal of Hitler is something new in the history of German cinema?

    Rother: No. It has been done before. Not only in Hans-Jurgen Syberberg's film (``Hitler, A Film from Germany,'' 1977), but also in G.W. Pabst's film about the last 10 days of Hitler's life (``Der Letzte Akt,'' 1954). Obviously, the marketing department is counting on the fact that nobody has seen these films. What annoys me more is the fact that Eichinger and Hirschbiegel suggest that by portraying Hitler as a human being, they are acting on behalf of the people of Germany, and doing the nation a favor.

    Apthorp: How could it have been done better?

    Rother: If they had really wanted to present the general public with a new image of Hitler, then they could have chosen periods from Hitler's biography that presented the paradox of his humanity far better. Around the time of September 1939 and the Wannsee Conference, when the decision was made to exterminate the Jewish people, Hitler was probably also charming.

    He was chivalrous to his secretaries, and entertaining. He had the charisma to persuade generals with better military insight that he was right. They could have chosen a time when he had the power to make decisions. He had the force of character to succeed in implementing his decisions, and he consistently chose to do evil.


    Hitler's Criminal Side


    Apthorp: Whether it should be permitted to portray Hitler as a human being is to ask the wrong question?

    Rother: Of course, it should be permitted. Hitler was a human. It was the historian Arnold Toynbee who said that you need to be able to understand Hitler as a human being, because if you portray him only as a monster, you don't actually grasp the whole thing. You have to understand that what happened was the consequence of the actions of real human beings, with all the ambivalence that this entails. I don't believe the problem is that the film shows Hitler's human side. I think the real problem is that the film is not able to show Hitler's criminal side.

    Apthorp: The film won a Bambi award. Does it deserve this?

    Rother: The Hollywood Reporter called the massacre scene ``state-of-the-art.'' That's high praise for a German film, coming from Hollywood. People who are interested in that kind of spectacle will get their money's worth. In purely technical terms, the film is well-made. The acting is good. It's a big production. That's why it gets all these honors. It's not about ideology. It's about being impressive. And it is impressive.


    Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000102&sid=aKhqiKRF1nTk&refer =uk

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