An English language version of Er ist wieder da/ looks whos back of the above brilliant and striking cover art caught my attention in a bookshop a couple of years ago – and I bought it on the basis that it has been a sensational best-seller in Germany (I have a considerable interest in German culture and literature, and my brother and my wife’s brother both have German wives).
The premise is that somehow Hitler is time-shifted to modern Germany, just as he was when he died; and has to make sense of it all. And Germany also has to make sense of him – which they do by assuming he is some kind of satirical comedian who never drops his impersonation.
It was quite intriguing, but I didn’t manage to get through much of the book. However I was interested enough to give the subtitled movie a try – when I discovered it was available on Netflix. The movie had been as successful in Gewrmany as the book – being the number one box office for a while.
I would highly recommend the movie as extremely thought-provoking and also at times very funny (his encounters with daytime TV, the internet, as a chat show guest etc.) – despite that it is overlong and sags in several points (the improvised sections – which I mostly skipped).
But the scripted sections of the movie were fascinating – the tone shifts back and forth between sympathetic and horrified, between making clear Hitler’s broad, powerful democratic appeal and personal fascination, and the terrible, disgusting quality of his doctrines and actions. I found myself caught by a hook, pulled back and forth, but unable to squirm free.
The result was, I found, a very complex and fascinating argument which has stayed in my mind for several days – indeed, there haven’t been many recent movies which I found so interesting.