Adolf Hitler

Baby

According to Deadline Hollywood, the best-selling author Philip Kerr will take a stab at detailing the rise of the Nazi party in 1920s Germany for The Poison Kitchen, a movie being directed by Robert Schwentke (Red, Flightplan). His pedigree as a writer of detective stories set in that tumultuous time certainly qualifies him for the project, but it will also be his first screenplay so it will be interesting to see him transition his skills to a new format. The film will be drawn from the Ron Rosenbaum book “Explaining Hitler” and will pit the growing National Socialist party led by Adolf Hitler against journalists at the “Munich Post” who trash the group as thugs and criminals. You’ll never guess who wins. The world should never stop making movies about WWII and the Nazis. As long as more people can learn about their atrocities and more of us can be reminded of the modern danger they posed, the word should be spread through every medium possible. What’s more – this movie represents a chance to highlight a group of people within Germany who actively fought against Hitler, and that’s a bit of history that sometimes gets swept under the rug in favor of the myth that a country simply woke up one morning and decided to burn its citizens while invading Poland. At any rate, this project sounds like a fascinating one.

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Criterion Files

One major aspect of the Nazi propaganda machine that gained their support from the German people was their promotion of nostalgia. And like any form of nostalgia (and especially in nostalgia’s frequent political function), this was a selective nostalgia, decidedly exploiting certain tropes and icons of German history and heritage. A major component of this nostalgia was the promotion of nature as the means of returning to pure German identity. Nature provided a convenient contrast to the values that the Nazi party wanted to work against, and it’s opposite – the urban center – was the focal point of all they problems they perceived Germany as having been misguided by, most explicitly centralized in the supposed decadence of 1920s Berlin. The political, aesthetic, and sexual aspirations (not to mention the diversity) of the Weimar period posed a threat to the ideals of tradition, uniformity, and the assumed hierarchy of specific social roles. This nostalgic and romantic preoccupation with nature is readily available in German cultural products of the 1920s and 30s. Anybody who has seen Inglourious Basterds (2009) is familiar with the “mountain film,” or “bergfilme” genre that had peaked by this point. This genre was popular years before the Third Reich took power, and its prevalence speaks volumes to the German peoples’ preoccupation with nature leading up to the Hitler’s rise to power. Leni Riefenstahl, perhaps the most famous of Nazi-era filmmakers, starred in mountain films and went onto make Olympia (1938) and Triumph of the Will (1935), a […]

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as Raptureness316 and TMal4TheWin in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair try to avoid being pretentious at all costs while discussion The Tree of Life, dismissive reactions to art we don’t understand or like, and the nature of randomness in creation. What is art? And what does Hitler have to do with it?

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Culture Warrior

There will inevitably be a movie about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden – this much is certain. Recent news has established that Kathryn Bigelow might be the first to try to put into play one of several projects related to last week’s assassination amongst several that are being shopped around. The reasoning is clear, as the material lends itself inherently to cinematic expression. The mission itself, in short, feels like a movie. Whether or not this movie (or movies) will have anything to say beyond what we already know and think and feel is unknown and, in Cole Abaius’s terms, it will be difficult for such projects to escape an inherent potential to come across as a shameless “cash-in.” My personal prediction is that the first movie that arises from bin Laden’s death will, at best, be an exciting procedural that visualizes an incident we are currently so invested in and preoccupied with. But I doubt that anything released so soon will remotely approach a full understanding of bin Laden’s death as catharsis for American citizens, as a harbinger for change in the West’s relationship to the Middle East and the Muslim world, as a precedent for the possible fall of al Qaeda, etc. In short, we won’t be able to express cinematically (or in any other medium, for that matter) what the death of bin Laden means until the benefits of time and hindsight actually provide that meaning. This is why I think any movies about Osama […]

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This is why I love working on the internet — can you believe that there are people out there actually digging ditches?

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culturewarrior-basterds

This week’s Culture Warrior explains how Tarantino’s latest has matured the filmmaker beyond simple homage to cinema’s past and instead displays a reverence to the overall potential power movies have to offer, rooted in the sacred experience of the movie theater.

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