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Arkadin

Downfall (2004)

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Anyone else seen this film? I just finished it and it's an interesting companion piece to the documentary "Blind Spot: Hitler's Secratary" (2002).

 

It deals with Hitler's last days in the bunker and is quite interesting from a historical standpoint.

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In the Hitler collection, I've watched "Triumph of the Will" and "Architecture of Doom," as well as the documentary on the (terrible, wonderful) life of Leni R.

Find it fascinating to track how a good idea, as it began, could go so wrong, as it so often does in our own lives... And how so many could be so easily misled by a charismatic leader... Maybe should be required viewing in election years???

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Argh! My computer is freezing on the link. I will try later. Thanks anyway.

 

Yes, I thought it was as good as "Blind Spot" I don't know about more interesting, but there was certainly more to look at on the screen!! I thought the actors all did a good job. I did feel that it could have been lit and shot better camerawise. Other than that, I enjoyed it.

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I thought this was a very impressive film. Bruno Ganz gives a terrific performance as Hitler, and the movie stays very close to the descriptions we have of the confrontations in the bunker.

 

I was fortunate to see it on the big screen. The auditorium was packed with 120 people, mostly college students, and they not only watched in silence but walked out of the theater in silence. I've rarely seen an audience so large respond in that way to a film.

 

The DVD has an interview with Ganz. In it, he is out of costume but still has his toothbrush moustache. I've always been a little amazed that the tabloids haven't stolen that image and used it for a "Hitler Lives" cover.

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This movie was all about Bruno Ganz' tour de force performance. Previously the thought of Herr Ganz brought warm feelings; I suppose mainly because I relate Ganz with his roles in Wim Wenders' films (like Der Amerikanische Freund and Der Himmel ?ber Berlin) where he plays world-weary mensches (angelic or otherwise). To see him as Hitler in Der Untergang is unsettling (as it should be). I look forward to seeing his work in Francis Ford Coppola's upcoming Youth Without Youth.

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I think it's just an amazing film, and some of the interviews included in the DVD strongly suggest the filmmakers wanted, to the extent that it might be possible, for the focus on the film to be on the people around Hitler rather than on Hitler himself. We all know he was a madman, but what is truly amazing is how the people around him were so transfixed by him that even near the end when he was clearly delusional, issuing orders to move imaginary armies around Berlin, and even though they all knew the war was lost, they mostly tried to continue humoring him and being very deferential to him. Is the greatest tragedy that there should have been a man like Hitler, or that the people of Germany at that point in time empowered him thus?

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