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Our Hitler: A Film From Germany

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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(Dec 11, 2007)
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$299.99 $100.00

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this powerfully original film, director Hans-Jürgen Syberberg creates an epic nightmare that ruminates on Adolf Hitler and the effect he continues to wield over Germany.
In a series of 22 tableaux set on a soundstage, Syberberg makes use of puppets, props, a thundering Wagnerian soundtrack, and rear-screen projection to evoke Nazi Germany, the origins of the Third Reich, and the disturbing aftermath that followed. Neither a feature film nor a conventional documentary, OUR HITLER is a seven-and-a-half-hour fever dream on coming to terms with Nazism. Originally distributed by Francis Coppola s Zoetrope Studios, this controversial film was hailed by Coppola as a work that made all other films of the time trivial or obsolete.

Review

...the most extraordinary film I have ever seen... --Susan Sontag

...the most important work of visual art Germany has produced since the War. --Barbara Rose, VOGUE

The most notorious avante-garde film of the last decade... --J. Hoberman, AMERICAN FILM

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Martin Sperr, Heinz Schubert, Andre Heller, Alfred Edel, Peter Moland
  • Directors: Hans-Jurgen Syberberg
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: FACETS
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2007
  • Run Time: 442 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UL61EI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,763 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Our Hitler: A Film From Germany" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Doug Urquhart on December 19, 2007
Verified Purchase
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.
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Susan Sontag called this film "the most extraordinary film I've ever seen". While this may seem hyperbolic, it isn't. This is an extraordinary film, and I completely understand Sontag's adoration of it. This is a brilliant film, one that has had me thinking for days about it. I watched it over 2 nights, and there's so much in it and so much to take in that I'm planning on renting it again or perhaps purchasing it. Despite its nearly 7 1/2 hour length, there isn't one dull moment in it. I only watched it over 2 nights because I had to go to sleep. If I had had the time to watch the whole thing in one sitting, I would have done so without thinking. I haven't felt this glued to the screen in I don't know how long.

The film is absolutely mesmerizing. This film has been unavailable for many, many years, and this is the first time it's been offered on home video. The director, Hans Jurgen Syberberg, had posted the film on his website, but watching it on a TV or projected is the best way to see it. The film is operatic, theatrical, mind bending, sad, haunting, angry, depressing, and just about everything else you can think of. The 4th part is a little boring (the first 30 minutes of part four is one long monologue), but after this monologue is concluded, the film takes off again to a stunning conclusion.

Never does the film feel padded. Like in Wagner's great operas (Wagner figures prominently here), a film like this needs to be long to tell its story, and that should be respected. The actors throughout the film give excellent performances, and the film is one of the most thought provoking films that I've seen in recent memory.
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This incredible film of staggering originality is as profound and visually imaginative as cinema can get. Not widely seen in this country, but perhaps even more meaningful today as we face ever new forms of an ancient evil that we are all to eager to embrace with a rationale of religion and/or politics.

Hitler was one of us.
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What can be written about this film that hasn't already been written? I found the film captivating....mesmerizing. Though it is indeed very long (7+ hours) I would have no reservation watching it again in its entirety. The production of the film is unique...unlikely anything at least this reviewer has ever seen. I was drawn to the film because it was produced by Germans and I am really curious how Germans feel about the whole National Socialism movement, or at least how some of them may have viewed that era looking back from the 1970's. There are portions of the film that do indeed seem to drag on a little too long (the monologues by the young German intellectual, for example) but I've always had a fascination with the entire movement and in particular Hitler that I still enjoyed the film. How could it all really take place?, I ask myself. Anyhow, if you are interested in this period or German history I would highly recommend this film. If you have little to no interest in either of these two subjects you will probably have little to no patience for this film. I loved it, however.
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I have watched movies for at least 45 years, and since my earliest age I sought to be discriminating. This is one of the most important films I have ever seen. Like many others, I sought to understand Nazism and read books of history, political science and mass psychology, including William Reich's masterpiece. Yet, this information did not really enable me to understand the core of that which created Nazism. This movie has catalyzed into place all other information previously available to me, and enabled me to finally understand. The movie is not descriptive but evocative, as it conveys a massive "something" which albeit not rational and beyond the limits of language, is nonetheless real and was a major factor in the events of Germany at that time. It is a "something" which, in good and evil, belongs to the legacy of the western world. The theatrical medium is perfect, and perhaps the only one, to bring this "something" to the fore. This movie is not for everyone, and may just be for a few. Training in Wagnerian music and mythology is a prerequisite. Those who do not love Wagner should not bother buying it.
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