100 Years of Adolph Hitler, dir. Christoph Schlingensief

OK, let’s get straight to the obvious question: why ph (both imdb and mubi have this as the English title)? The German title of this film is 100 Jahre Adolf Hitler – Die letzte Stunde im Führerbunker. Adolf has never been a word (unlike, say, Czech), which the English have for no good reason determined to spell strangely. Answers in the comments section, please.

This film’s pretty easy to summarise: it’s a German comedy about Hitler’s last days in the Führerbunker. [ed. Surely you’re describing Downfall there, Obooki?!]

Hmm, perhaps comedy’s the wrong word. I didn’t find it on the whole that amusing. In fact, if I was a man who was disturbed by anything whatsoever in films, I’d probably say it was more disturbing than amusing. Even satire doesn’t seem quite the right word. Farce, perhaps. Yes, a not particularly funny and somewhat disturbing farce about Hitler’s last days in the Führerbunker. Sounds good so far, yes?

What else can we say? – The makers don’t seem to be all that bothered about concealing things like the boom from the shot. At the beginning a man comes on with a clapper-board, as if this were the filming of a filming – though this is no Pere Portabella documentary. Occasionally scenes are stopped in the middle and a second take is ordered. Rather than fitting out the Führerbunker, Hitler merely seems to have installed it in someone’s dank and largely unlighted basement. Swastika flags have been cut out crudely and stuck on walls; Swastika arm-bands are in the process of falling off uniforms. The cast don’t really seem to be putting in that much effort – or, no, they’re putting in effort, just not perhaps directed in the way we might expect in a film. The whole thing is entirely half-arsed – and the hard-arsedness seems entirely by design. Perhaps we see a meaning in all this. The disorganisation of the film, the fact that Hitler stumbles about, nominally in charge, but through his inaction is actually letting it all go to ruin … well yes, I’m sure you get the point.

Hitler spends the entire film in a drunken stupor, propped up by a maid who occasionally injects him with morphine. Göring and Bormann resort largely to tormenting Fegelein, whose character appears to have been modelled on Father Jack, from the Father Ted series (to be fair, the film predates Father Ted). Eva Braun is only intent on having herself declared Führer and marrying Martha Goebbels, who spends much of the film screaming, while her husband has sex with their daughter.

3 good reviews on imdb, no bad ones. Surely someone must have disliked this film – though, as it happens, not me.

More fun films later in the week: e.g. Raoul Ruiz’s Klimt (check out imdb for the completely divided opinion on this one!).

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4 thoughts on “100 Years of Adolph Hitler, dir. Christoph Schlingensief

  1. The first made an error and the second copied it? Or they attempted to signal “Hey this is supposed to be satirical and funny”… No idea.
    You are more courageous… I wouldn’t have dared watching Klimt, not with Malkovich in it… I’m slightly allergic to the guy. Let’s see how you will like it. I’m also slightly allergic to Klimt. Maybe not his fault that people get him so easily and put his paintings on every imaginable basic commodity. From pencils to toilet lids.

  2. Yes, John Malkovich is certainly the worst thing about it. Thankfully I know almost nothing about Klimt or his work, which I think probably proved a good thing.

  3. An arbitrary bit of mis-spelling that somehow seems in the spirit of the movie itself?

    I like Ruiz (well, I liked Time Regained) and am likewise ignorant of Klimt…wasn’t he a forerunner of Laura Ashley? Malkovich I like except where he’s miscast, usually as someone sane. Although, having said that, I thought he was a terrible Tom Ripley. If he gets to do his shouty thing then that’s a plus point for the film.

  4. I’ll probably put up the review on Friday – either that, or My Blueberry Nights.

    Another odd piece of casting was Nikolai Kinski as Egon Schiele. Can you imagine the son of someone as normal and ordinary as Klaus Kinski, playing Egon Schiele?

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