BBS: Our Wagner. A deal in Germany.

Hitler in a roman tunic standing and speaking in the grave of Richard Wagner

Three close friends, one of them me. The whole project started when #6 bought a recording of the Jahrhundertring, a production of Richard Wagner’s Ring by Pierre Boulez and Patrice Chéreau, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bayreuth Festival. #2 complained that he is only going to watch Wagner with us if we both watch Syberberg‘s »Hitler, ein Film aus Deutschland« (»Hitler: A Film from Germany« or just »Our Hitler«) with him. Then I came up with the BBS Documentary — and we had a deal.

We have already finished the Ring and the BBS Documentary, as well as Syberberg part I. The day before yesterday, we watched part II. The »Film from Germany« undoubtedly is the toughest piece of our 3 element project, as it challenges its spectators quite a lot. Still, I wish more people in and outside of Germany knew about »Hitler: A Film from Germany« and watched it. Because it indeed is some strange sort of incarnation of a masterpiece. And it deals with the aesthetics, myths, ideology and philosophy that served (eclectically abused by the Nazis?) as a breeding ground for Nazi Germany. It deals with guilt, with the monster Hitler and the human being Hitler, the Hitler in every German and the Hitler in every Non-German, and us in every Hitler. In terms of style, it is a weird dialectic synthesis of a Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk with the Brecht epic theatre — containing strong »Alle Macht der Super 8«-like trash elements. (»Alle Macht der Super 8« is more or less dominated by a mixture of audience torture and quickly and lovelessly spewed out work.) Furthermore, the movie is aggressively brimming with intertextuality. But I am not an arts scholar, so I better stop talking now and refer to a person more expert than me:

The movie can be bought on DVD in German and with English subtitles (a few monologues are dubbed as well) [USA, UK]. Those who cannot afford to buy the DVDs can also watch all the four parts of the movie in bad quality on Syberberg’s website. Syberberg kindly asks everyone that watches the movie online to donate $ 1.- for the reestablishment of the Nossendorf church tower. In case you are confronted with compatibility problems with the movie playback, please find the direct links to the *.mov files here:

German version:

  1. Der Gral
  2. Ein deutscher Traum
  3. Das Ende eines Wintermärchens
  4. Wir Kinder der Hölle

English version:

  1. The Grail
  2. A German Dream
  3. The End of a Winter’s Tale
  4. We Children of Hell

If you want to watch the movie, you maybe better find some good friends to accompany you. It is a long and rocky way to walk. But it’s worth it. Even more important: Please make sure you have at least one copy of the tie-in book [DE, USA, UK] handy. It will make the journey much easier, believe me ;).

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