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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Helping Reverse A Parochial Paradigm

Despite calling myself a film buff, my choices can sometimes be parochial. And though I've frequently enjoyed foreign films, movies in English remain my default, even when I suspect the loss of another 90 minutes of my life to something of little merit.

A movie as powerful as "Downfall" (2004) could help me reverse my limiting paradigm. The film begins and ends with an on camera interview with the elderly Traudl Junge, Adolf Hitler's personal secretary from 1942-1945, serving him right up to the day he and last minute bride Eva Braun committed suicide together. In between the two interviews is a mesmerizing dramatization of the ten days leading up to Germany's surrender as Hitler and his goons buried themselves in a Berlin bunker. Bruno Ganz' ferocious portrayal of the Fuhrer is so other-worldly I forgot I was reading sub-titles - language became superfluous.

This is not a movie you enjoy; it's an experience you have. Central to it is the horror all of us have been appropriately taught never to forget. Then, near the end, there is an excruciating scene involving the six children of the maniacal Joseph Goebbels, standing by as his wife does the unthinkable; I'm certain I will never forget those few minutes of film. That's not a claim I could make for the entirety of several movies I've seen recently, all of them in English. What was the last movie you saw that grabbed you like "Downfall" grabbed me?

1 comment:

  1. From the awful opening scene of "Saving Private Ryan", the film grabbed me and never let go.