38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Syberberg's masterpiece - at last on DVD.,
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This review is from: Our Hitler: A Film From Germany (DVD)
This is a very rare film, unavailable in the U.S. for several years.
In 1977, Syberberg made a statement during an interview: "I think in five to ten years, the filmmaking business will shift from the way of the movie theater to the house. People will watch films like they listen to records - on cassettes on a big wall". The timescale and medium may be wrong, but he was right about the trend.
At more than seven hours, 'Our Hitler' is an ideal example of a film which is virtually unwatchable in a theater setting, but perfect for the home environment, where the action can be paused and restarted at will, and spread over several evenings, if necessary.
Syberberg's style is unmistakeable, combining front-projected images, stage props, tableaux and puppets, overlaid with Wagner's music and long monologues. Daunting? Not at all. The key to appreciating this wonderful film is to pace your viewing. Think more in terms of atmosphere rather than action, content rather than plot. A knowledge of German history and culture is useful, but not essential. Just sit back and allow the film to to enter your mind.
The twin DVD set includes the four parts of the film, plus fragments of a documentary produced when the film was first shown in New York. The documentary is derived from a badly-deteriorated VHS copy, and is riddled with sound dropouts and tracking errors, but is still fascinating. The package also includes a fifty-page guide to the film (which is handy for those of us who can't recognize Thomas Mann when we see him). The booklet includes reviews by Susan Sontag and Anton Kaes.
The film itself is available in the English or German versions. The chosen language determines the language of the subtitles and some of the voiceovers.
I saw this film many years ago, on British television. I've been looking for it ever since. It's marvellous that it should be available on DVD at last. The other two films in this trilogy ('Ludwig - Requiem für einen jungfräulichen König' and 'Karl May') have just been released on DVD in Germany. I hope these titles will soon be available in the U.S.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 25, 2007 7:14:41 PM PST
Grigory's Girl says:
Great review. I've been dying to see this one myself. It's at the top of the Netflix queue.
Posted on Feb 1, 2008 9:32:19 PM PST
Grigory's Girl says:
2nd post. Brilliant film, even better than I expected. One of the most amazing films I've seen in quite some time.
Posted on Oct 18, 2010 10:32:24 AM PDT
charles truax says:
I sat through this in 1977 in a theater in Denver. I couldn't stop watching, it was so engrossing. When the break came I went home to eat and then, against protest from family and friends, returned to finish the saga. This was memorable on so many levels I can only recommend that anyone who thinks they have the slightest interest in World History should see this at least once in their life. It will change how you view world politics and leaders forever.
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