Director Hans-Jurgen Syberberg examines the rise and fall of the Third Reich in this brooding seven-hour masterpiece, which incorporates puppetry, rear-screen projection, and a Wagnerian score into a singular epic vision. Syberberg, who grew up under Nazi tyranny, ruminates on good and evil and the rest of humanity’s complicity in the horrors of the holocaust.
For Syberberg, cinema is a form of Gesamtkunstwerk. Many commentators, including Syberberg himself, have characterized his work as a cinematic combination of Bertolt Brecht’s doctrine of epic theatre and Richard Wagner’s operatic aesthetics. Well known philosophers and intellectuals have written about his work, including Susan Sontag, Gilles Deleuze and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe.
In 1975 Syberberg released Winifried Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried von 1914-1975 (English title: The Confessions of Winifred Wagner), a documentary about Winifred Wagner, an Englishwoman who had married Richard Wagner’s son Siegfried. The documentary attracted attention because it exposed Mrs Wagner’s unrepentant admiration for Adolf Hitler. The film thus proved an embarrassment to the Wagner family and the Bayreuth Festival (which she had run from 1930 until the end of the Second World War). Winifred Wagner objected to the inclusion in the film of conversations she did not know were… read more
yup, saw this at a screening two days ago...still awed. 4 hours - one hour break - 3 hours...digital projection. the first 5 minutes looped 3 times...5 people at the screening, roughly 1/3 of the film in original german without subtitles (i know no german at all), and the rest subtitled in english....the best movie experience i've had in a long long long long long time...in fact i feel like the break killed the mood.