Director Hans-Jürgen 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.
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[LEFF ’12] Yup, saw this at a screening 2 days ago. Still awed. 4 hours+one hour break+3 hours (digital projection). First 5 minutes looped 3 times. Five people at the screening. Roughly 1/3 of the film in original German without subtitles (I don't speak German at all), the remainder subtitled in English. The best movie experience I've had in a long long long long long time. I reckon the break killed the mood a bit.
35mm, rewatched the first two parts. With Oliveira's "Amor de Perdição", "Francisca" and "Soulier de Satin", Syberberg's tetralogy that goes from Ludwig to Parsifal, are the grandest examples of Gesamtkunstwerk in cinema, where all art forms generated by the human spirit unite and unify to translate into the scene. When i saw it for the first time in the 80s, i raved: Cinema has its own cosmogony.
Crowning filmic achievement about the 'Hitler' phenomenon. Syberberg exploits to the fullest the rich pool of German culture, ranging from romanticism to Lebensphilosophie. The density of vocal and visual stimuli -with back projections of sheer brilliance- is extraordinary. Extraordinary is also the sophistication of Syberberg's (reactionary) critique of mass culture. A towering accomplishment of cinema's own guilt!
Someday I will find myself in the middle of a brecht play, feeling so self-conscious but becoming so intimate with the material that is presented in such clinical fashion. This is an accommodation or breathing space, where the artist and audience ruminate and plug the metaphysical gaps together. A veritable work of art.
With a work of such immense richness, I can only give a petty comment. The film not only made me wonder if I could have been one of Hitler's puppets, but also whether I could have been one of Syberberg's puppets.
Amazing film. The visuals, the soundtrack, the concepts of "Hitler" in each of us are breathtaking--if you have the patience of sitting through a 10-part documentary cum staged play. It remains one of my all time favourite films. Susan Sontag wrote a book on this cinematic work. It will affect any sensitive individual who can reflect on the power of cinema that combines sight, sound and memories.