It seems that Rosenblatt, as an American filmmaker, holds strong that sense of narrative purpose of a film, even in Human Remains which is merely a collection of video footage and trivia information of various totalitarians. You can almost see the director asking himself: Why am I doing this? Answer: To point to the banality of evil. I don't know. Too simple.
Interesting short, intimate (?) portraits of XX century's dictators who seems to look themselves in the mirror and see anything but a man. They tell us what they're seeing as they were coping with nothing so serious or uncommon... but it turns out they made history, and not a good story, at all.
This is a facetious horror documentary. We hear from four famous dictators who, in their own (post-mortem!) words, describe themselves in a kind of absurd Facebook profile sort of way. Rosenblatt intercuts each of these portraits with a simple but effective counterbalance should you begin to feel at ease with these men.
This is a decent short documentary, with moments of brilliance, for instance the shovelling parts serving as a sort of introduction :) I don't think this film actually teaches us anything about the persons portrayed, and the "moral" is quite obvious: we are all humans, including Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Lenin, and Mao. We might as well call them monsters, but really, doing so is just to make us feel better.
Maybe it's my outlook on the human race that made this film boring, or maybe, like the ant one, it just hasn't aged interestingly? I did like the voice work and appreciated the multilingual presentation. I guess I just don't find the suggestion that they're people (like everyone) disturbing. If anything it just proves that they're disgusting in the banal ways, too.
There is a danger to making fun of some of these terrible men to the fact that laughter works to humanize and garner some form of sympathy. Rosenblatt does handle the tone well though, because while I found myself laughing, the dark score and visuals served to ground them down.
There is something naive and transparent in Rosenblatt's films. Said not as a critic, on the contrary - this is a remarkable quality. This one though is one of the most predictable. 20th-century-dictator propaganda material is something already exausted and, in a sense, the juncture pieces - man shoveling something (ashes?) - testify that.
This is a fascinating exploration into the lives of the most evil people in history. The fact is that they had similar likes and dislikes to the average person and similar views however they were each tinged with a subtle something or other that's not always easy to put your finger on. This something or other provides clues into the monsters that they were. Truly spine tingling