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Mein Fuehrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler

Mein Fuehrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler

Preview by Jack Foley

A GERMAN comedy about Adolf Hitler will break one of the last remaining taboos of German cinema when it opens in its home country on January 11.

Mein Fuehrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler portrays the tyrannical Second World War leader as a madman who had a fondness for drugs and a reputation for playing with a toy battleship in the bath and dressing his dog in Nazi uniforms.

The film is certain to cause controversy when it opens given its treatment of such a sensitive issue. But director Dani Levy – a Swiss-born Jew who lives in Berlin – argues that it seeks to explain how it was possible for Germans to follow Hitler.

He also maintains that it’s important for Germans to continue to create new pictures of their own of issues such as the Holocaust or Nazism rather than relying on old, realistic pictures, because “that just makes us lazy and tired”.

According to a report on the BBC, the film begins in December 1944 as Berlin stands in ruins and Hitler is too depressed to deliver a rallying speech. Joseph Goebbels, his propaganda minister, subsequently employs the help of a fictional Jewish actor from a concentration camp to coach him but the actor seizes the opportunity to put Hitler through a number of humiliating exercises such as crawling about like a dog.

The film follows the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated film Downfall, in 2004, which also broke new ground in Germany by portraying the dictator from a German perspective and showing a sensitive side to the leader.

It remained a harrowing film that showed the extent of his capacity for evil and has rightly become regarded as one of the definitive Second World War movies.

Whether the same description will apply to Mein Fuehrer remains to be seen. Certainly, one German newspaper has been willing to consider its merits. Weekly publication Der Spiegel said that the current crop of films about Hitler demonstrated a desire among the country’s artistic community to break down the myth surrounding Hitler and turn him into a more normal human being.

In doing so, it made his actions easier to understand and the man himself smaller. It added that the best way to shrink a myth is to make it laughable.

There is no release date as yet for a UK release for the film, although it could yet become one of the big cinema talking points of 2007.