Hitler - ein Film aus Deutschland (1977)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental  |   Sub-Genres - Essay Film  |   Run Time - 450 min.  |   Countries - France, UK, West Germany  |  
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This seven-hour long epic completes the "German Trilogy" of Hans-Jurgen Syberberg, which began with his meditation on the life of Ludwig II of Bavaria and continued with a biography of popular writer Karl May. In this film, he explores the factors in the German psyche which sought for and then deified a man like Hitler. Using absolutely no archival footage from the Nazi era, this highly symbolic and poetic film explores German culture and history. At times, Hitler is depicted as a toga-clad spirit, quoting Richard Wagner, and at times he appears in other guises -- all of them critical to understanding his role in the German mind, and hence to understanding the phenomena which caused the German people to support him. The film uses transcripts from radio broadcasts made during the Nazi era to underscore the importance of radio in unifying the nation at that time. Hitler: ein Film aus Deutschland was made to run in four segments on German, British and French television. The segments were titled "The Grail," "A German Dream," "The End of the Winter's Tale," and "We Children of Hell." Understanding that evil is clearly the purpose of this epochal and difficult film, the director said that, "It is easy to understand the revolt of slaves but difficult to comprehend the evil of tyrants."

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Keywords

dictator, Germany, meditation, Nazism, power, exploration