Sunday, June 17, 2007

Downfall

This is a german flick depicting the last days of Adolf Hitler in his Berlin bunker. The story is told from the perspective of Hitler's personal secretary. It's based partly on the memoirs of Traudl Jung. This movie caught some flack for humanising Hitler. The movie shows him being really nice to his secretaries, the Goebbel's children and a few others. I suppose the protestors were against any attempt to show Hitler in a remotely positive light. While I am sympathetic to their feelings, I think they are wrong. Demonising (or deifying) historical characters keeps us from properly understanding history. Hitler was most definitely human, as was Gandhi.

Coming back to the movie, it quite starkly describes the last dying gasps of Berlin as the soviets inexhorably grind their way towards it. There's escapism, delusion and sardonic acceptance of reality all in equal measure. It's hard not to wonder at the german army top brass who, knowing full well that they were lost stayed loyal to their leader. Was it servility? Were their protestations of loyalty to their oaths real? Was it fatalism? I suppose it is hard to know.

In all, an interesting movie, recommended for all who are interested in the history of this period.

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