Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hitler - ein Film aus Deutschland ( Hitler: A Film from Germany) (1977) - Hans-Jürgen Syberberg

"Syberberg's 7-hour-long magnum opus Hitler, a Film from Germany was originally presented on German television in four parts. Syberberg presents a simple theme: Such evil as occurred in Hitler could never have existed without the support, however unwitting, of the rest of humanity. The presentation is the stuff of nightmares. The music of Hitler's beloved Richard Wagner is included to suggest a sort of decadent, modern Wagnerian opera. Syberberg's vision is not an optimistic one; it is forthright and brutal in its honesty, a vision of humanity's dark, unsettling dreams.

Susan Sontag was one of the most perceptive critics to engage Hitler, A Film from Germany, calling it "The most extraordinary film I have ever seen". The film itself, made in twenty days of shooting after four years of preparation on a budget of $500,000, caused an enormous controversy when it was released in 1979, and continues to call for responses, both positive and negative, in critical circles today.

Syberberg's two themes are film and Hitler, the art medium of the twentieth century and the subject of the twentieth century. One might include here all of the permutations of these two terms: Hitler as film, Hitler in film, film as Hitler's privileged medium, and our own, contemporary construction of Hitler as one that is, ultimately, cinematic in the sense that Hitler functions as a 'screen' for many of the internal projection machanisms of modern mass culture, Germany in particular. These two themes in their entwinement are articulated and interrogated on a grand, even 'mythic' scale, enacted theatrically on a stage, combining and mixing different modes, genres, media: the puppet show, the fairy tale, circus, morality play, philosophical dialogue, and, of course, film itself." - Steve Gallagher (

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

English Subtitle:

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