Welcome to my blog

Houston Filmmakers and Actors: Hitler's Hit Parade

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Hitler's Hit Parade

CCW Film 2003

'Hitler's Hit Parade,' a new German documentary, presents a collage of popular culture from Nazi Germany."

January 5, 2005
It's the Nazi Era, but It Looks So Familiar

The images in "Hitler's Hit Parade," a German documentary opening today at Film Forum, seem to come from an eerily recognizable pop-culture parallel universe, whose creepiest aspect may be its blithe normalcy. As singers croon through lush ballads and peppy dance numbers, we see images of long-stemmed chorines and frolicking lovers, some in satiny black-and-white, others in grainy home-movie color.

If these archival clips from the 1930's and 40's were American, parts of this film, directed by Oliver Axer and Suzanne Benze, might be mistaken for the latest installment in the "That's Entertainment" franchise. They depict a swirling, by now slightly quaint world of cinematic fantasy, interspersed with some images of sunlit reality, mostly smiling children and their sturdy parents. The lyrics are full of noble sentiment, if occasionally touched by an inkling of longing or romantic disappointment.

But of course, as the film's title makes clear, these ditties and scenes come not from Hollywood but from Nazi Germany, and they are arranged to emphasize the dark irony that such wholesome blandness and suave sophistication could be part of the self-image of radical evil. Not that Nazi popular culture was all benign pictures and pretty songs. We see plenty of Hitler salutes, grotesquely anti-Semitic children's cartoons, death camp inmates and the bloodied corpses of German soldiers on the battlefield. These sights give some of the songs - like a mournful lovers' ballad called "The Last Tram" - an unwarranted, almost ugly poignancy.

"Hitler's Hit Parade," despite its jaunty title, is structured to make the most of that uncanny, haunted feeling. There is no voice-over, no explanation - only the songs themselves, which are announced with stylized onscreen titles. This can be a bit frustrating to your sense of historical curiosity. I found myself wondering who wrote these songs, who sang them and who those ghostly movie stars were. The brief song credits at the end were not very satisfying in this regard, and the absence of chronological or contextual cues makes the film's short running time drag more than it should.

Documenting the production of Nazi popular culture - its film studios and record distributors, as well as the artists who disgraced themselves in its service - is not what the filmmakers set out to do. Instead, they have gathered some of the products of the German culture industry into a monstrous and fascinating installation - a collage that illustrates Hannah Arendt's famous diagnosis of the banality of evil and reveals facets of it that have been forgotten as the living memory of the Nazi era has faded. We recall Hitler's Reich as an unparalleled historical catastrophe, but "Hitler's Hit Parade" suggests that for its citizens, its moral distortions were as ordinary as a trip to the local cinema or a popular song on the radio.

'Hitler's Hit Parade'

Opens today in Manhattan.

Written and directed by Oliver Axer and Susanne Benze; edited by Mechthild Bruns; produced by C. Cay Wesnigk. At the Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, South Village. Running time: 76 minutes. This film is not rated.


Blogger irreconcilableness resources said...

You must get a lot of traffic with a blog this nice! I'll be back for sure. Hey, look at my site over here: instant messaging off turn. As you can tell, it has to do with instant messaging off turn! I trust your judgment. What do you think?

October 1, 2005 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger tweedledeetweedledum said...

This blog is awesome! If you get a chance you may want to visit this best movie download site, it's pretty awesome too!

October 1, 2005 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Naka said...

Nice blog. Please check out my medical health insurance lead
site. It is all about medical health insurance lead

October 8, 2005 at 4:59 AM  
Blogger Jack Naka said...

Just thought i would say hi from Japan. Doing some blog surfing and found your site. Im looking for some cool styles of beauty salon equipment for my own blog. Theres some really amazing blogs about. if you have time check out my site you will find information on beauty salon equipment. Well when i get my blog running hope you come and check it out.

October 10, 2005 at 6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Blog

Best Wishes

I have a site 80 million Down Loadable Movies If you have the time stop by.

October 16, 2005 at 4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been finding almost all of my sushi bar here

October 27, 2005 at 5:21 AM  
Blogger Casino online said...

online casino online Best casino directory online casino online free game online. About casino online promotion casino online review, online casino online slot of casino new online casino gambling internet online is casino online poker (casino gambling guide online) casino free gambling money online casino online sultan of bonus casino online casino online . The casino gaming online casino internet online. online casino online

October 27, 2005 at 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for offering this great service to learn about wholesale candy. I have a website about wholesale candy which makes me very interested in what you have going here. I think I am going to start up my own blog so I can spread the news! Thanks you are offering this great service!

November 4, 2005 at 2:39 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Online Casinos hits.